Date of Award
Dr. Rebecca Drenovsky
Climate change has caused an increase in the frequency and intensity of fire cycles in chaparral ecosystems. In environments impacted by wildfires, some plant species depend on complex fire cues to germinate. Determining how to best replicate wildfire cues is essential to using fire-recruiter species in restoration efforts. This study examines the effects of various simulated fire cues on four chaparral species: Arctostaphylos manzanita, A. viscida, Ceanothus cuneatus, and C. jepsonii. Seeds were exposed to heat, charate, liquid smoke, or combinations of treatments. Other germination cues, such as cold exposure for all species and acid exposure for Arctostaphylos species, were also examined. We found that Arctostaphylos species germinate best when exposed to acid and that A. viscida has greater germination rates than A. manzanita. The Ceanothus species responded best to charate and boiling water exposure. Additionally, all species require a 2-3 month cold stratification period prior to treatment. Using these conditions when planting seeds can increase the chance of successful germination.
Litwinowicz, Zachary, "Heat and Chemical Cues Enhance Germination Rates in Fire-Dependent Chaparral Species" (2021). Senior Honors Projects. 125.
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