Distichlis spicata seed germination in saltine enviroments

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Distichlis spicata seed germination in saltine enviroments

Postby 13alexp » Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:26 pm

I am doing a science fair project on how rising salinity levels due to global warming will affect Distishlis spicata (saltgrass) which is a vital barrier between the land and the water, that separates chemicals, plants, and animals on both sides. I started out testing this by measuring germination percentages of Distichlis spicata seeds, but unfortunately, I have been having some trouble with my science fair project.

Starting two and a half weeks ago, I began a pre-experiment for my project. I planted several Distichlis spicata seeds in three different environments after they had been stratified in a refrigerator for two weeks. A few seeds were placed in a self-watering seed germination container I built, some in several small dirt pods that I purchased, and a couple more in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel (this was probably not the best idea, but I read about it being done in a similar project online). All of these plants were given distilled water. Unfortunately, none of these seeds germinated. I don't know if this is because I planted them incorrectly, but I would love to know more about techniques for germinating these seeds if you have any ideas.

Because these seeds didn't work, I decided that it was best to have a backup plan, and I collected five bunches of Distichlis spicata from the Corte Madera Creek. They are all roughly the same size, and I dug them up in a 15 foot radius from each other. When I was collecting these samples, I noticed that some of the plants were turning brown...do you know if Distichlis spicata plants are dormant during the winter, or if this is just because some of the plants aren't as healthy as others? When I am going to be measuring how these plants are affected by increasing salinity levels, I am going to have to measure them using qualitative data. Do you have any tips on how I should record these measurements, or what some early warning signs of death or unhealthiness are for Distichlis spicata?

I would love it if you could answer any of my questions. Please also let me know if you have any other information about Distichlis spicata that you think might be helpful for my project.

Thank you!

Alex
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Project Question: Germination rates of Distichlis spicata (saltgrass) seeds when being watered with incrementally higher levels of salinity.
Project Due Date: January 17, 2013
Project Status: I am conducting my experiment

Re: Distichlis spicata seed germination in saltine enviromen

Postby microkts » Sat Dec 15, 2012 10:25 pm

Hi,

This sounds like a great project. I did a google search looking for general information on salt grass. The USDA has a great page and I included the link below. On their page they state that the plant grows naturally in salty waters. Using distilled water may have been one reason your seeds did not germinate. Try researching further what level of salinity will be best for these plants. The USDA page also said it can be difficult to get the seeds to germinate and many of them will not. You could try increasing the number of seeds in each of your test groups. According to the USDA page another option is to start the plants from the rhizomes (root stalks). It should be easier to start plants from these.

http://plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/pg_disp.pdf

Kierstyn
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Occupation: PhD Candidate, Graduate Student
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