Comparing seed germination in western prairie fringed orchid (Platanthera praeclara Sheviak and Bowles) seeds planted in grazed and ungrazed plots.
This study was designed to collect data on the impacts of grazing on the orchid population in the Sheyenne National Grassland. The hypothesis for this study was that cattle grazing in orchid habitat may create disturbances that may improve orchid seed germination (1). Study objectives were to determine stages of seed germination and document numbers of germinating seeds, protocorms, and seedlings in two grazed versus two ungrazed plots.
Seed packets enclosing 0.0005 grams of seeds (about 400-500 seeds) were constructed using plankton netting and plastic slide cases (2). In October of 2003 approximately 10 packets were placed at random in each of two ungrazed swales and another 10 packets in each of two grazed swales, with each packet buried 1 centimeter deep. Seed packets were retrieved in October of 2004 and each packet's contents were transferred to agar plates for examination under a dissecting microscope. Developmental stages leading up to the young seedling stage were assessed and documented.
Results showed 11% of seeds in both grazed and ungrazed plots achieved some development, whereas 89% showed none. Observable differences were evident but z-tests of proportions between the two samples for four developmental categories showed no significance at the 95% confidence level.
Since seed germination is only a small part of the P. praeclara lifecycle, additional studies are critical to further understand the impacts of grazing on the orchid population.
1. Bowles M.L. Natural Areas Journal 3, 14-37, 1983.
2. Rassmussen HN, Whigham DF. American Journal of Botany, 80:1374-1378, 1993.
Mindy Anderson *, Bridget O'Brien, and Bonnie Alexander Department of Biology, Valley City State University, Valley City
Comparison of seeds swelling, rupturing seed coat, and developing 1st leaf in grazed vs. ungrazed plots Swollen & Rupturing Seeds Ungrazed Plots Grazed Plots 640 921 One leaf Seedling Development Ungrazed Plots Grazed Plots 15 7 Note: Table made from bar graph.
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|Title Annotation:||Collegiate Communication--Undergraduate|
|Author:||Anderson, Mindy; O'Brien, Bridget; Alexander, Bonnie|
|Publication:||Proceedings of the North Dakota Academy of Science|
|Date:||Apr 1, 2005|
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