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Journal of Arid Land  2013, Vol. 5 Issue (3): 310-323    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-013-0171-1
Research Articles     
Diaspore characteristics and ecological adaptation of Bromus tectorum L. from different distribution regions 
YaoBin LIU1, 2, YuanMing ZHANG1*, Robert S NOWAK3, Liliya DIMEYEVA4
1 Key Laboratory of Biogeography and Bioresource in Arid Land, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011, China;
2 Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China;
3 Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Science, University of Nevada-Reno, Reno, Nevada 89557, USA;
4 Institute of Botany and Phytointroduction, Almaty 050040, Kazakhstan
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Abstract  The invasion of nonnative plants is considered one of the main threats to the structure and function of North American ecosystems. Moreover, they can alter ecosystem processes and reduce biodiversity. In arid and semi-arid region of North America, the species of European annual grass Bromus tectorum L. is an outstanding example of these problems, which not only increase the fire density and change the fire regime, but replace native communities. Therefore, there are amount of researches on B. tectorum, including resource acquisition, water use efficiency and growth. Whereas the relevant research on the morphology of diaspore is scare. Diaspores have a fundamental role in seed germination and seedling establishment. Besides, as an important link between different generations, diaspores have a vital significance on individual reproduction and population extension. Hence, diaspores under selection for studying have an important implication. This study compares differences in seed mor-phology for Bromus tectorum collected from the United States, Kazakhstan, and Xinjiang of China. The following indices of B. tectorum diaspores were analyzed: size, thickness of covering layers, and micromorphological characteristics of the base, middle and transition area of diaspores as well as of the awn. Micromorphology of the lemma and the cross-section of the diaspore were observed by scanning electron microscopy. Results showed that thickness of the lemma and the palea of diaspores from B. tectorum-infested grasslands in the United States were reduced (P<0.05), likely because of environmental influences. This reduction facilitated the germination of diaspores and lowered the resistance of B. tectorum to adverse environmental conditions. The length of the awn also increased significantly (P<0.05), which helped in dispersal and anchoring of diaspores. Therefore, B. tectorum adapted ecologically to its new environment in the United States by strengthening its establishment ability. However, the defense capability of B. tectorum decreased. These results fit the evolution of increased competitive ability hypothesis (EICA) of invasive species. Analysis of various cells on the lemma revealed that prickle densities and col-lapsed, long epidermal cells were easily influenced by environmental factors such as temperature and moisture because of the physiologic function of these structures on silicon accumulation. However, the form and the position of silica cells, which were not greatly influenced by environmental factors, might be genetically controlled. Studying these structures at the microscopic level helps define the relationship between the diaspore and its environment. This study has a reference value for future studies on B. tectorum.

Key wordsdust storm frequency      thermal anomalies      Tarim Basin      Tibetan Plateau     
Received: 16 November 2012      Published: 10 September 2013

This study was supported by the International Science and Technology Cooperation Program of China (2010DFA92720-06), with partial support to RSN from the US National Science Foundation (1047575) .

Corresponding Authors: YuanMing ZHANG     E-mail:
Cite this article:

YaoBin LIU, YuanMing ZHANG, Robert S NOWAK, Liliya DIMEYEVA. Diaspore characteristics and ecological adaptation of Bromus tectorum L. from different distribution regions . Journal of Arid Land, 2013, 5(3): 310-323.

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