The objective of the first chapter of this thesis was to determine whether fungicide seed coatings constitute an effective strategy for increasing seedling recruitment in restoration scenarios in the Intermountain West. We tested a mixture of four fungicides that address potential fungal pathogens to bluebunch wheatgrass, a dominant bunchgrass that is commonly used in restoration. Across two sites and three years, we found that the fungicide seed coating increased emergence in five of the six sites and years, with an average increase of 59.1% over the control. There was a strong interaction (P < 0.001) between the effects of fungicide treatment, the year and the site on emergence. This interaction was likely related to the effects of the hydrothermal microsite environment on disease severity. Further research is necessary to fully understand the conditions under which fungicide seed coatings are most likely to be effective. The objectives the second chapter of this thesis were to 1) estimate the effects of golden eagle nest proximity to explosive disturbances on reproductive success given other relevant habitat variables (e.g. indices of topography and vegetation), and 2) determine the relative importance of nest proximity to explosive disturbances as a predictor of golden eagle reproductive success compared to other relevant habitat variables. Reproductive success data were collected from nesting territories within and surrounding land controlled and managed by the US Department of Defense. We fit the reproductive survey data using generalized linear mixed-effects models comprised of unique, hypothesis-based sets of habitat variables. We compared the models using AICc-based model selection processes. Given the best approximating model, we found no evidence that the likelihood of reproductive success was affected by nest proximity to explosive disturbances (P = 0.460). We further found nest proximity to explosive disturbances consistently ranked in the bottom 50% of relative variable importance. These results may indicate golden eagle tolerance or habituation to explosive military tests and trainings. Although the two chapters of this thesis are disjointed, they are loosely unified by the ecological importance of disturbance, invasive species, and restoration within the Great Basin ecoregion.
College and Department
Life Sciences; Plant and Wildlife Sciences
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Hoose, Benjamin William, "Improving Rangeland Seedling Recruitment Using Fungicide Seed Coatings and Golden Eagle Reproductive Success in Relation to Explosive Military Tests and Trainings" (2020). Theses and Dissertations. 9303.
restoration, seed enhancement technology, seed pathology, disturbance, habituation