Hang in there!

Sara Souther, with Clare Aslan and Martha Sample, establishing a germination trial to examine factors influencing germination of Kearney’s bluestar seeds. Photo courtesy of Clare Aslan.

Why don’t we see many Kearney’s Bluestar seedlings? With funding from the Arizona Department of Agriculture, Sara Souther, Clare Aslan, and Martha Sample scaled the steep hillsides of the Baboquivari Mountains to look at seedling recruitment in the Endangered Species Act (ESA) listed species, Kearney’s Bluestar (Amsonia kearneyana). Factors such as seed predation or inhospitable microsite characteristics may prevent the establishment of the next generation of plants within a population. In this experiment, researchers tested whether soil moisture, predation by small and mid-sized mammals, and genetically-based differences in site preferences influenced the ability of Kearney’s Bluestar seeds to germinate, survive and grow. This research will provide parameters for future conservation efforts to aid recovery of this endangered species!

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