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Multivariate differentiation of quackgrass (Elytrigia repens) from three farming systems
- Mercer, Kristin L., Jordan, Nicholas R., Wyse, Donald L., Shaw, Ruth G.
- Weed science 2002 v.50 no.5 pp. 677-685
- Avena sativa, Elymus repens subsp. repens, Glycine max, Zea mays, arable soils, control methods, corn, evolution, farming systems, genetic variation, hay, oats, pastures, perennials, principal component analysis, risk, soybeans, weed control, weeds, Minnesota
- The genetic variation of quackgrass as a species and the array of environments in which it is found indicate that selection in these different environments could lead to differentiation among quackgrass populations. Yet, a highly diverse environment might not promote the genetic divergence of quackgrass if it poses contradictory selection pressures. To assess the extent of divergence among quackgrass populations, this study compared the morphology of populations of quackgrass for 1 yr in Rosemount, MN, in a ““common garden”” study. The quackgrass was initially collected from three different farming systems in southeast Minnesota: corn––soybean (CS), oats––hay––corn (OHC), and permanent pasture (PP). The systems represent pasture or arable land and differ in cropping rotations and levels of disturbance. Although no differences among farming systems were detected in multivariate or univariate comparisons, a significant farming system effect was detected between CS and PP systems when the most diversified system, OHC, was excluded from the analysis. Consistent with this result, a principal components analysis suggested that plants from two of the three farming systems exemplified contrasting modes of perennial plant growth. Relative to each other, the CS plants showed more features of the ““guerrilla”” growth mode (longer intra-ramet distances, sparse, large patches), whereas PP plants showed more ““phalanx”” mode features (short intra-ramet distances, dense, smaller patches). Plants from the most diversified system, OHC, did not fit into either growth form, and for this farming system, the variation among populations was the highest. The results suggest that the CS and PP systems selected for distinct growth forms, whereas the diversified OHC system did not. This is consistent with the hypothesis that diversification of a farming system and weed management decreases the risk of evolution of a weed population highly adapted to control measures used in that farming system.Nomenclature: Quackgrass, Elytrigia repens (L.) Nevski AGRRE; corn, Zea mays L.; oats, Avena sativa L.; soybean, Glycine max (L.) Merrill.