Genetic diversity studies of <i>Bouteloua eriopoda </i>(Black grama grass) in southern New Mexico: Spatial and temporal variations

TitleGenetic diversity studies of Bouteloua eriopoda (Black grama grass) in southern New Mexico: Spatial and temporal variations
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsPotenza C.L., Slaughter A.L, Yeater K.M., Barrow J.R.
Conference NameAmerican Society of Plant Biologists
Date PublishedJuly 7-11, 2007
Conference LocationChicago, IL
ARIS Log Number209811
Keywordsblack grama grass, Bouteloua eriopoda, grass, overgrazing, rangeland, southwestern
AbstractBouteloua eriopoda (black grama grass) is a drought-tolerant, C4, warm-season grass, native to the southwestern region of the United States and Mexico. Its nutritive properties and late dormancy (it maintains green stems well into winter) make it very good forage for livestock in the region. However, black grama appears to be very susceptible to rangeland disturbances, including overgrazing, severe drought, and human activity, and its overall abundance has decreased sharply in the last 50-100 years. This decline, along with its predicted lifespan (30-40 years), anecdotally low seedling establishment rate, and ability to reproduce clonally by stolons, may have lead to low genetic variability, causing a decreased ability to adapt to disturbances and potential climate change. In the work presented, amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) was performed on two populations of B. eriopoda in south central New Mexico, collected from the Jornada Experimental Range (Dona Ana County) and the Otero Mesa Grasslands (Otero County) to help measure the extent of genetic diversity within and across these populations. Ten additional black grama herbarium samples dating from the 1920s to the 1990s were also tested in an attempt to measure loss of genetic diversity. Our results show that black grama grass appears to have the genetic variability of an outcrossing grass. Data will also be presented that measure the genetic distances, differences, and similarities between the spatial and temporal populations.