Practicum Project | 2011

Addition of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi to Seeds at Alta Vicente in Palos Verdes Peninsula

Student(s): E Ahn, J Chiang, C Chui, M Varner, S Vaughn, and S Wittenberg

Client: Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy

Advisor: Travis Brooks

Final Report

Coastal sage scrub (CSS) is a habitat characterized by drought-resistant shrubs found in Mediterranean-type coastal climates such as Southern California. Many of these habitats are threatened due to increased urban development, historic grazing and extensive farming, and thus the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy (PVPLC) has begun to make efforts to repopulate the native species communities. Studies have shown that Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi (AMF) displays positive effect to native species by extending the root surface, hence increasing the uptake of limiting resources, especially phosphorus and water. This prediction was tested by an experimental addition of AMF to the seed mix of a CSS restoration site located in Alta Vicente, Palos Verdes Peninsula. Limited field germination of the native seed mix occurred in the first spring, following a winter of above average rainfall and events of lower than average temperatures. Subsequent growing seasons may result in higher native germination, at which time the effect of AMF addition can be re-assessed. The application of AMF did not have an effect on non-native plants, except for sow thistle (Sonchus oleraceus), a non-native annual herb. Sow thistle abundance and cover were lower (p<0.05, n=20) with the addition of AMF.