Title: Assessing the potential of biological control for yellow starthisle (Centaurea solstitialis L.) to protect native plant biodiversity in Hell’s Canyon Ecosystem.
Student: Rachel Winston
Department: Plant, Soil & Entomological Sciences (PSES)
The study aimed to determine the effects of several variables on the survival and reproduction of a Crepis bakeri Greene ssp. idahoensis Babc. & Stebb., an Asteraceae listed as “sensitive” by the BLM. The ultimate goal of the project was to be one of the few studies to empirically document the effects of an invasive species on a native plant. The study variables included: the effects of YST, the effects of exotic plant species not including YST, the effects of insect herbivores, the effects of ungulate herbivores, and the effects of YST impacted by high levels of introduced insect biological control agents. Because this species is a perennial and the study sought to answer questions at a population level, the study was designed to be conducted over multiple years. During the growing season of 2007, the Hell’s Canyon study site was consumed by the Chimney Complex wildfire. In 2008, the fourth year of the study, the extra variable of fire was added to the study of C. bakeri. Results of this study will strengthen as the project continues and will be presented to CRISSP as they are produced.
For more information, email the PI: Dr. Mark Schwarzlaender