Poa bulbosa: reproduction and persistence
A potential research project (not funded)

Poa bulbosa, a Eurasian grass species now widespread in western North America, is always described as a perennial but there is no information on how long it lives, or whether its is truly a perennial. Most plants produce bulblets instead of flowers. These bulblets fall to the ground, root, and grow. Some plants produce flowers. In many species, the switch from asexual to sexual reproduction is influenced by environmental conditions. It is not known whether the switch from bulblet (asexual) to floral (sexual) reproduction in Poa bulbosa is under such control.

Immediate Questions

  • Is Poa bulbosa a true perennial or does it merely overwinter?
  • Do environmental conditions affect the mode of reproduction (asexual or sexual) in Poa bulbosa?

There are many other questions that could be asked. These two can be ad-dressed with simple, inexpensive research designs.

Interested? If you have completed Biology 1210, 1230 and Math 1030 or 1050 with a grade of C+ or better and will be at USU for the next two years, contact Dr. Mary Barkworth (mary@biology.usu.edu). This project will not require a heavy weekly time commitment, but the first question will require observations over at least two years. The results would be publishable.
Think Plants