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Suppression of non-native and native grass seed germination using mustard seed meal and mulch biofumigation
(Wiley, 2024-04) Sencenbaugh, Lilly; Mangold, Jane M.; Ulrich, Danielle; Rew, Lisa J.
Non-native annual grasses have invaded western rangelands in the United States, and novel approaches are needed to supplement existing management strategies. The aim of this study was to investigate biofumigation, the use of Brassicaceae products to suppress weeds, as a control for two non-native annual grasses (cheatgrass, Bromus tectorum and ventenata, Ventenata dubia) and its effects on two dominant native perennial grasses (bluebunch wheatgrass, Pseudoroegneria spicata and Idaho fescue, Festuca idahoensis). We tested the effect of the biofumigant Brassica juncea (brown mustard), applied as seed meal and mulch, on germination metrics of the four grass species in Petri dishes. Germination metrics included emergence and viability, time to cotyledon and radicle emergence and their lengths at 14 days after sowing. Impacts on emergence and viability were assessed using a binomial mixed effects model, while time to cotyledon and radicle emergence and lengths were assessed using linear mixed effects models. Seed meal reduced emergence and viability at lower application rates for V. dubia and F. idahoensis than the other two species. Mulch did not consistently reduce emergence or viability. P. spicata was the least inhibited by the biofumigants. When using seed meal, radicle emergence and length were inhibited in B. tectorum, V. dubia and F. idahoensis and cotyledon emergence and length were inhibited for all. The mulch did not impact these metrics consistently and may not be a viable management tool. The use of seed meal biofumigant to suppress undesired annual grasses in rangelands seems promising, but response is species-specific.
(Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science, 2022) Chalise, Sulov; Chairperson, Graduate Committee: Anne Lohfink; This is a manuscript style paper that includes co-authored chapters.
All massive galaxies harbor a supermassive black hole (SMBH) at their galactic center. If these SMBH are actively feeding then they are called Active galactic nuclei (AGN). Their accretion system contains a corona, an accretion disk and an axisymmetric dusty torus. The torus can be connected physically and dynamically to the circumnuclear disk of the galaxy which acts as a molecular gas reservoir for material to be accreted onto the SMBH. Further, AGN can emit radiation from radio up to the gamma rays. The AGN accretion disk emits photons mostly in the optical/UV band which are Compton up-scattered in the corona to generate X-rays. If present, a jet can produce additional high-energy and Synchrotron emission. In some AGN, a huge amount of material can be stripped away from the accretion disk creating an outowing wind. These --radiation pressure, jet, wind etc.--inject energy back into the host galaxy, regulating the SMBH growth. There exist a complex interplay between the AGN feeding and feedback. Understanding this interaction between the central engine and its circumnuclear environment is vital in context of galaxy evolution. My work aims to study this interaction in low to moderately obscured (or Compton-thin) AGN using their broadband multi-epoch X-ray spectra plus other emission bands whenever appropriate. From the spectral analysis of broad-line radio galaxy 3C 109, I was able to constrain its high-energy cutoff for the first time. In another Seyfert galaxy Mrk 926, I was able to explore the origin of its soft excess, and found that a warm coronal origin was slightly preferred. Finally, I performed a joint multi-wavelength analysis with a physical torus model of a sample of Polar-scattered Seyfert 1 galaxies. I utilized their multi-epoch broadband X-ray spectra along with their infrared spectral/photometric data, and was able to constrain their torus properties. Despite being a sample of similar moderately-inclined Compton-thin AGN, I found a complex and varied distribution of gas and dust in their torus.
(Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Agriculture, 2022) Tatsey, Latrice Dawn; Chairperson, Graduate Committee: Anthony Hartshorn
In-nii (American Bison) are returning to their Traditional Territories after being nearly wiped out of the Great Plains of North America and Canada. The in-nii are slowly returning to Native American tribes who have the resources to run reintroduction programs like that of the Amskapiipikini (Blackfeet). This in-nii reintroduction presented an opportunity to look at the effects of the return of in-nii to the Amskapiipikini, and what their influences might be on the soils, plants, and water resources of the Blackfeet Nation. This research project was conducted on the Blackfeet Buffalo (In-nii) Ranch and the adjacent RRJ Cattle Ranch, comparing the influence of in-nii and cattle on soil nutrient cycles and soil carbon dynamics. Soil samples were taken from locations on the landscape that were near water sources on lower elevations, mid hillslopes for mid-elevation sites and on hilltops at higher elevations. Soil characteristics included soil organic matter (SOM), nitrate, pH, cation exchange capacity (CEC), and exchangeable calcium, potassium, sodium, and magnesium. Only two (CEC, magnesium) appeared to have been influenced by in-nii and cattle. The remaining soil characteristics were little influenced by grazer type. Substrate-induced respiration was also measured in the lab to see how microbes decomposed SOM (carbohydrates and other molecules) to release energy and CO2; we found no evidence of differences between in-nii- and cattle-influenced soils. Finally, we measured field respiration rates and water infiltration rates at multiple fence line sites; field soil respiration rates increased when soil had water infiltrated after the dry readings, soils also increased the time to absorb water after the first infiltration tests were run. Our preliminary results suggest that the reintroduction of in-nii to these lands has not yet resulted in measurable differences in soil-related properties of the Blackfeet Nation. Even so, the return of the in-nii for the Amskapiipikini is also about understanding the importance of using cultural science when studying the ecology of a system. Doing this can create an understanding of the traditional ways of knowing while bringing cultural healing and restoring connections between Amskapiipikini, in-nii, and land.
(Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Agriculture, 2022) Arnold, Adrienne Dale; Chairperson, Graduate Committee: Ross Carlson; This is a manuscript style paper that includes co-authored chapters.
Methanotrophs and green algae are microorganisms that grow on single carbon substrates. Methanotrophs are bacteria that use methane as their carbon source, and green algae are eukaryotic phototrophs that grow on CO 2. They are of interest both as primary producers in the environment and as biological catalysts for the conversion of greenhouse gases into value-added compounds. Understanding how methanotrophs and green algae adapt to cultivation stresses is key to understanding carbon cycling in the environment and in industrial settings. This work uses stoichiometric metabolic modeling to investigate the role of carbon storage compounds in the metabolism of C1-utilizing organisms. Storage compounds are accumulated as intracellular reserves of polysaccharides or lipids, which can be catabolized under stress conditions to provide carbon and energy to the cell. Catabolism of carbon storage compounds often results in the excretion of multi-carbon organic compounds that can be utilized as carbon substrates by other members of the microbial community. In silico metabolic models were developed for methanotroph and algal systems and used to examine the breakdown of storage compounds in response to common cultivation stresses. For the aerobic methanotrophs, predictions focused on the use of polyhydroxybutyrate and glycogen in adaptation to O 2 limitation. For the green algae, starch and triacylglycerol reserves are analyzed as sources for compatible solutes, which are produced by cells in response to high salinity conditions. Metabolic modeling of storage compound utilization by methanotrophs and algae helps elucidate the role of these organisms as primary producers and presents an opportunity for industrial production of multi-carbon compounds from single carbon substrates.
(Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Engineering, 2022) Rathore, Muneeb Soban; Chairperson, Graduate Committee: Brent M. Peyton; This is a manuscript style paper that includes co-authored chapters.
Algal biofuels are compounds obtained by transesterification of algal lipids to fatty acid methyl esters (FAMEs) which can be used as biodiesel. Algal biofilms have a potential for commercial applications of algal biomass for biofuel production and provide concentrated biomass requiring less water removal to reduce biofuel production costs. Lipid production in algal biofilms is low as compared to planktonic algal growth systems and strategies for enhancing lipid content in algal biofilms need to be developed. The overarching goal of the studies presented herein was to develop lipid accumulation strategies in algal biofilms using nutrient stresses to increase triacylglycerides (TAGs) and FAMEs. First, a reactor was designed for photoautotrophic biofilm growth incorporating a novel algal biomass harvesting mechanism. Chlorella vulgaris biofilm growth was demonstrated to establish the reactor characteristics under three different inorganic carbon regimes and the presence of excess calcium to facilitate biofilm attachment and accumulation. Excess calcium resulted in precipitate formation and increasing ash content in biomass and caused difficulty in biofilm detachment. However, the highest biomass accumulation was observed in the bicarbonate and the bicarbonate with calcium treatments. Second, two different algal strains were tested for lipid accumulation under two nutrient conditions: nitrate limitation and bicarbonate addition. Algal strains included, an extremophilic freshwater diatom RGd-1, a Yellowstone National Park (YNP) isolate, and oleaginous chlorophyte C. vulgaris. High bicarbonate content at low nitrate concentration in the bulk medium provided the highest lipid accumulation as determined by Nile Red fluorescence and Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GCMS) analysis of extracted FAMEs (7-22 % wt/wt). For prevention of biomass loss and quick response to nutrient stresses to stimulate lipid accumulation, the growth medium was exchanged after initial biofilm accumulation and operated in batch mode. This was implemented to quickly introduce nutrient stresses using fresh medium to vary bicarbonate and nitrate concentrations as needed. Thus, the work presented here demonstrated enhanced lipid production in algal biofilms with nitrate stress and bicarbonate amendment is a viable strategy to increase lipid accumulation. Increased lipid content may help offset the cost for biodiesel production with more lipid product and lower processing requirements for water removal.
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