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Effects of Seed Density on Germination and Establishment of a Native and an Introduced Grass Species Dispersed by Granivorous Rodents

Michael H. McMurray, Stephen H. Jenkins and William S. Longland
The American Midland Naturalist
Vol. 138, No. 2 (Oct., 1997), pp. 322-330
Published by: University of Notre Dame
DOI: 10.2307/2426825
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2426825
Page Count: 9
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Effects of Seed Density on Germination and Establishment of a Native and an Introduced Grass Species Dispersed by Granivorous Rodents
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Abstract

Dense aggregations of Oryzopsis hymenoides (Indian ricegrass) and Bromus lectorum (cheatgrass) seeds occur in rodent caches in the Great Basin. Rodent caching behavior may influence establishment and persistence of these two desert grasses. Seed caches of rodents clearly introduce exaggerated seedling competition in these species. Greenhouse experiments were used to determine if establishment and persistence of these species were affected differently by densities of seeds in caches. Germination and establishment of Indian ricegrass, a native perennial grass, were less affected by high seed densities than germination and establishment of cheatgrass, an introduced annual weed. The different natural histories of these species, as well as data presented here, suggest that the high seed densities introduced by caching behavior of desert rodents may be beneficial to Indian ricegrass and harmful to cheatgrass.

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