|Title||Seed source affects establishment and survival for three grassland species sown into reciprocal common gardens|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2012|
|Authors||Carter, DL, Blair, JM|
The source of plant material can affect the successful establishment and subsequent survival of plant species in restoration. Sometimes a local advantage is assumed or advocated, but research to date is equivocal on the relative success of local versus non-local plant sources in restoration. Global change, which is altering environmental conditions broadly and within local sites, raises additional questions regarding whether local sources will consistently perform best in the future. We investigated the effects of seed source (local vs. non-local) on the performance of three grassland species across variable environments using reciprocal common gardens in three states (Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma). In order to mimic the restoration of grassland vegetation from seed under realistic conditions where species interact with one-another during establishment, we focused on three species (Elymus canadensis, Oligoneuron rigidum, and Sorghastrum nutans) that were seeded together into communities with nine additional grassland species, simultaneously and identically manipulating source for all species. Both common garden site and seed source affected initial (first year) establishment in terms of density and survival, but responses differed among seed sources and were not consistent among species. No seed source, including local, had a consistent advantage. Effects of seed source on initial density, in addition to survival, suggest that experiments utilizing transplants might miss important effects of seed source on establishment and that the relative performance of different sources within a single site or that of any one species across sites cannot be easily generalized.