No effect of seed source on multiple aspects of ecosystem functioning during ecological restoration: cultivars compared to local ecotypes of dominant grasses
Article first published online: 12 NOV 2013
© 2013 The Authors. Evolutionary Applications published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Volume 7, Issue 2, pages 323–335, February 2014
How to Cite
Baer, S. G., Gibson, D. J., Gustafson, D. J., Benscoter, A. M., Reed, L. K., Campbell, R. E., Klopf, R. P., Willand, J. E. and Wodika, B. R. (2014), No effect of seed source on multiple aspects of ecosystem functioning during ecological restoration: cultivars compared to local ecotypes of dominant grasses. Evolutionary Applications, 7: 323–335. doi: 10.1111/eva.12124
- Issue published online: 27 JAN 2014
- Article first published online: 12 NOV 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 25 SEP 2013
- Manuscript Received: 8 MAR 2013
- National Science Foundation. Grant Number: DEB 0516429
- Konza Prairie Long-Term Ecological Research program
- genetic diversity;
- genetic structure;
Genetic principles underlie recommendations to use local seed, but a paucity of information exists on the genetic distinction and ecological consequences of using different seed sources in restorations. We established a field experiment to test whether cultivars and local ecotypes of dominant prairie grasses were genetically distinct and differentially influenced ecosystem functioning. Whole plots were assigned to cultivar and local ecotype grass sources. Three subplots within each whole plot were seeded to unique pools of subordinate species. The cultivar of the increasingly dominant grass, Sorghastrum nutans, was genetically different than the local ecotype, but genetic diversity was similar between the two sources. There were no differences in aboveground net primary production, soil carbon accrual, and net nitrogen mineralization rate in soil between the grass sources. Comparable productivity of the grass sources among the species pools for four years shows functional equivalence in terms of biomass production. Subordinate species comprised over half the aboveground productivity, which may have diluted the potential for documented trait differences between the grass sources to influence ecosystem processes. Regionally developed cultivars may be a suitable alternative to local ecotypes for restoration in fragmented landscapes with limited gene flow between natural and restored prairie and negligible recruitment by seed.