Project Descriptions:

General

Current Research Projects

For many years, the Lytle Preserve was an operating ranch and farm, raising cattle as well as various crop plants ranging from stone fruits and apples to alfalfa and melons. Today, in keeping with the original nature of the preserve, limited amounts of fruits and alfalfa are still produced. However, in keeping with the Lytle’s mission statement the preserve is now home to several active, long term, externally funded research projects. In this section of the Lytle webpage you can learn about the projects now using the Lytle as a research base. The unique biological, topographical, and ecological attributes of the preserve combine to create an oasis in the desert ideally suited to asking important ecological questions. Take a look!

Wildfire

Studying Wildfire Effects in the Mojave Desert (Sam St.Clair, Brock McMillan, Zach Aanderud, and Steve Peterson)

Recent studies show that the Mojave Desert region may be at a tipping point between a fire regime, which has historically been characterized by patchy, small fires to one of continuous, large fires. It is hypothesized that dramatic increases in non-native annual grasses (e.g., Bromus and Schismus spp.) are producing continuous fine fuel beds that appear to be driving an invasive plant/fire cycle in the Mojave Desert ecosystem. Changes in the fire regime would represent a new selection force that has the potential to drastically alter the structure and function of native Mojave Desert shrublands. At the Lytle Ranch Preserve, Drs. Sam St.Clair, Brock McMillan, Zach Aanderud, and Steve Peterson of Brigham Young University's Plant and Wildlife Science Department (College of Life Sciences) are examining factors that contribute to the emergence of invasive plant/fire cycles and the ecosystem-level consequences of these changes. This project is currently funded by the U.S. Department of the Interior (BLM) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture with logistical support provided by the Bean Life Science Museum's Lytle Ranch Preserve in Washington County, Utah.

Research project update – May 2012

In June of 2011 we initiated several field experiments with construction of small mammal exclosures, 10 independent controlled burns and construction of the rainout shelters in a factorial design.  Our watering treatments include 30% above ambient precipitation to simulate El Nino years and 30% reduction typical of drought years and drier conditions projected in future climates. We have just recently started collecting data from our field plots.


Fire Patterns
Conducting observations
Fire Patterns
Conducting observations

grass

Bio-control of Invasive Grasses in the Mojave Desert (Phil Allen)

Competition from annual bromes (cheatgrass and red brome) is a major obstacle to post-fire seeding success in arid ecosystems. Because currently available control methods fail to eliminate the annual brome carryover seedbank, we are examining the native fungal pathogen Pyrenophora semeniperda as a bio-control organism to eliminate these carryover seeds. Studies completed so far have shown that:

  1. Isolates of the fungus vary widely in virulence. Virulence variation is negatively correlated with growth rate in culture.

  2. This variation is genetically based, and multiple strains of the P. semeniperda can infect the same seed.

  3. Following application, the fungus persists at least one year under field conditions. This may necessitate fungicide treatment of seeds following bio-control, and further suggests that current and past seeding failures in arid ecosystems may already be associated with the fungus.

  4. While a fraction of brome seeds were killed by the heat associated with fires, infected seeds that were not burned up were still able to produce conidia.

  5. Using P. semeniperda to control brome seeds in lab and field studies has been good to excellent so far. Taken as a whole, these results suggest excellent potential for Pyrennophora semeniperda as a bio-control for seeds of cheatgrass and red brome.

  6. The outcome following infection for annual brome seeds is a “race” between the germinating embryo and the fungus, both of which compete for endosperm reserves. For this reason, dormant or slowly germinating seeds are most likely to be killed by the fungus.

  7. P. semeniperda has many hosts, including native grasses, forbs and shrubs. Susceptibility to the fungus among species varies widely.

Contributors:

  • Phil Allen, Craig Coleman, Mikel Stevens, Department of Plant and Wildlife Sciences (College of Life Sciences) BYU
  • Susan Meyer, US Forest Service Shrub Sciences Laboratory
  • Julie Beckstead, David Boose, Gonzaga University

This research project is funded by: The USDA National Research Initiative, the USDA Forest Service, the Nature Conservancy, and the Joint Fire Science Program; with logistical support from the Bean Life Science Museum’s Lytle Ranch Preserve.

quail

Water Development and Gambel’s Quail in the Mojave Desert (Randy Larsen)

Fire Patterns
Conducting observations

Gambel’s quail (Callipepla gambelii) occur in the American southwest including some parts of southern Utah. These birds are a native species of some concern in Utah given limited range and recent severe changes to their habitat due to increased fire frequency. In addition, Gambel’s quail are a focal species in the current and ongoing controversy surrounding wildlife water developments. Construction of wildlife water developments specifically for quail began as early as the 1940’s and has continued to the present. Water developments capture rain or snowmelt, store it, and provide access to water for wildlife during dry periods of the year. There are at least fifteen of these structures in and around the Lytle Ranch Preserve that, at least in part, are designed to benefit quail. Our goal over the next few years will be to assess the effects of wildlife water developments on Gambel’s quail and to determine the influence of recent severe fires on habitat use and selection. This work will be done in conjunction with broad-based sampling of water resource use across Utah. Results are expected to provide management agencies with important information related to the conservation of Gambel’s quail and the impact of wildlife water developments. This project is funded by the Utah State Division of Wildlife Resources with logistical support by the Bean Life Science Museum’s Lytle Ranch Preserve. Dr. Randy Larsen, a faculty member in the Plant and Wildlife Sciences Department (College of Life Sciences), is the principal investigator for this research project.
















interact

Studying Plant-mediated Interactions at the Lytle Preserve (Ian Baldwin)

The overarching research objective of the Department of Molecular Ecology at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology is to manipulate ecological interactions in nature to identify traits that are demonstrably important for an organism's Darwinian fitness in the complexity of interactions that occur in nature. We focus on plant-mediated interactions and have developed ecological expression systems with two native plants that have a rich suite of ecological interactions, Nicotiana attenuata and Solanum nigrum, as well as the herbivores that feed on them, the fungi and bacteria that interact with their roots, and their floral visitors. For more information, see: http://www.ice.mpg.de

For the 2011 field season at the Lytle Ranch Preserve, we will be examining secondary metabolites and other gene products that are involved in:

    Caterpillar
    Scientific Research
  • pollinator attraction
  • defense signaling
  • UV-B resistance
  • negotiating the complicated interactions with the plant’s microbial community
  • mycorrhizal associations
  • mate selection by plants
  • direct and indirect defense mechanisms against herbivores

Our goal is to understand how plants survive in nature. Few agricultural plants can survive even a single growing season without being pampered with fertilizers, water and protection from competitors, pathogens and herbivores. We have bred agricultural plants to do amazing things, to produce food for us which their wild ancestors didn’t, but in doing so, they have become environmentally “challenged”. Survival in the real world requires complex traits that quantitatively adjust a plant’s metabolism to meet the demands of growth, defense and reproduction required for plants to maximize their production of offspring and thereby their Darwinian fitness. Surprisingly, we know very little about the genes that make this possible. Understanding the genetic basis of these important survival traits will allow us to engineer our agricultural crops to become more self-sufficient and the two native plants that we study at the Lytle Ranch Preserve will help us to identify these genes. The Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology has been conducting research at the Lytle Ranch Preserve for more than 15 years.






public


List of Publications Acknowledging the use of BYU’s Lytle Preserve:

2012

Baldwin, I. T. (2012). Training a new generation of biologists: the genome-enabled field biologists. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 156(2), 205-214.

Dinh, T. S., Galis, I., Baldwin, I. T. (2012). UVB radiation and HGL-DTGs provide durable resistance against mirid (Tupiocoris notatus) attack in field-grown Nicotiana attenuata plants. Plant, Cell and Environment 15(10): 1365-3040.

Hettenhausen, C., Baldwin, I. T., Wu, J. (2012). Silencing MPK4 in Nicotiana attenuata enhances photosynthesis and seed production but compromises abscisic acid-induced stomatal closure and resistance to pathogens. Plant Physiology, 158, 759-776.

Kallenbach, M., Bonaventure, G., Gilardoni, P. A., Wissgott, A., Baldwin, I. T. (2012). Empoasca leafhoppers attack wild tobacco plants in a jasmonate-dependent manner and identify jasmonate mutants in natural populations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109(24), E1548-E1557.

Kaur, H., Shaker, K. H., Heinzel, N., Ralph, J., Galis, I., Baldwin, I. T. (2012). Environmental stresses of field growth allow cinnamyl alcohol dehydrogenase-deficient Nicotiana attenuata plants to compensate for their structural deficiencies. Plant Physiology, 159, 1545-1570.

Kessler, D. (2012). Context dependency of nectar reward-guided oviposition. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata, 144(1), 112-122.

Kessler, D., Bhattacharya, S., Diezel, C., Rothe, E., Gase, K., Schöttner, M., Baldwin, I. T. (2012). Unpredictability of nectar nicotine promotes outcrossing by hummingbirds in Nicotiana attenuata. The Plant Journal, 71(4), 529-538.

Meldau, D. G., Hoang, L. H., Baldwin, I. T. (2012). A native plant growth promoting bacterium, Bacillus megaterium B55, rescues growth performance of an ethylene insensitive plant genotype in nature. Frontiers in Plant-Microbe Interaction, 3.

Meldau, S., Ullman-Zeunert, L., Govind, G., Bartram, S., Baldwin, I. T. (2012). MAPK-dependent JA and SA signalling in Nicotiana attenuata affects plant growth and fitness during competition with conspecifics. BMC Plant Biology 12: 213.

Oh, Y., Baldwin, I. T., Galis, I. (2012). NaJAZh regulates a subset of defense responses against herbivores and spontaneous leaf necrosis in Nicotiana attenuata plants. Plant Physiology, 159(2), 769-788.

Schuman, M., Barthel, K., Baldwin, I. T. (2012). Herbivory-induced volatiles function as defenses increasing plant fitness in nature. eLIFE 1: e00007.

Woldemariam, M., Onkokesung, N., Baldwin, I. T., Galis, I. (2012). Jasmonoyl-L-Isoleucine Hydrolase 1 (JIH1) regulates jasmonoyl-L-isoleucine levels and attenuates plant defenses against herbivores. The Plant Journal 72(5): 758-767.

Zhang, L., Oh, Y., Li, H., Baldwin, I. T., Galis, I. (2012). Alternative oxidase in resistance to biotic stresses: Nicotiana attenuata AOX contributes to resistance to a pathogen and a piercing-sucking insect but not Manduca sexta larvae. Plant Physiology , 160(3):1453-67.

Shrestha, G., S.D. Leavitt, M.W. Proulx, L.A. Glacy, C. Call, J. Henrickson, and L.L. St. Clair.  2012.  A Checklist of the lichens of the Beaver Dam Slope, Washington County, Utah, USA.  North American Fungi 7(5): 1-7.

Horn K.J., McMillan B.R., St.Clair S.B. (2012) Expansive fire in the Mojave Desert shrubland reduces abundance and species diversity of small mammals.  Journal of Arid Environments 77: 54-58

2011

Diezel, C., Kessler, D., Baldwin, I. T. (2011). Pithy protection: Nicotiana attenuata's Jasmonic acid-mediated defenses are required to resist stem-boring weevil larvae. Plant Physiology, 155, 1936-1946.

Stitz, M., Baldwin, I. T., Gaquerel, E. (2011). Diverting the flux of the JA pathway in Nicotiana attenuata compromises the plant's defense metabolism and fitness in nature and glasshouse. PLoS One, 6(10), e25925.

Stork, W. F. J., Weinhold, A., Baldwin, I. T. (2011). Trichomes as dangerous lollipops: do lizards also use caterpillar body and frass odor to optimize their foraging? Plant Signaling and Behavior, 6(12), 1893-1896.

van Doorn, A., Bonaventure, G., Rogachev, I., Aharoni, A., Baldwin, I. T. (2011). JA-Ile signaling in Solanum nigrum is not required for defense responses in nature. Plant, Cell and Environment, 34, 2159-2171.

Weinhold, A., Baldwin, I. T. (2011). Trichome-derived O-acyl sugars are a first meal for caterpillars that tags them for predation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108(19), 7855-7859.

2010

Allmann, S., and I.T. Baldwin. (2010). Insects betray themselves in nature to predators by rapid isomerization of green leaf volatiles. Science 329:1075-1078.

Bezzi, S., Kessler, D., Diezel, C., Muck, A., Anssour, S., Baldwin, I. T. (2010). Silencing NaTPI expression increases nectar germin, nectarins and hydrogen peroxide levels and inhibits nectar removal from plants in nature. Plant Physiology, 152, 2232-2242.

Hartl, M., A.P. Giri, H. Kaur, and I.T. Baldwin. (2010). Serine protease inhibitors specifically defend Solanum nigrum against generalist herbivores but do not influence plant growth and development. Plant Cell 22, 4158-4175.

Kessler, D., Diezel, C., Baldwin, I. T. (2010). Changing pollinators as a means of escaping herbivores. Current Biology, 20, 237-242.


2009

Berger, B., and I.T. Baldwin. 2009. Silencing the hydroxyproline-rich glycopeptide systemin precursor in two accessions of Nicotiana attenuata alters flower morphology and rates of self pollination. Plant Physiology online first 10.1104/pp.108.132928.

Körner, E., von Dahl,C., Bonaventure, G., and I. T. Baldwin. 2009. Pectin methylesterase NaPME1 controls the emission of methanol during insect herbivory and contributes to the elicitation of defence responses in Nicotiana attenuata. Journal of Experimental Botany (in press).

Meldau, S., Wu, J., and I.T. Baldwin. 2009. Silencing two herbivory-activated MAP kinases, SIPK and WIPK, does not increase Nicotiana attenuata’s susceptibility to herbivores in the glasshouse and in nature. New Phytologist 181: 161–173.

Sanford, M.P., and Nancy Huntly. 2009. Selective herbivory by the desert woodrat (Neotoma lepida) on Joshua trees (Yucca brevifolia). Western North American Naturalist 69(2):165–170.

Schwaner, T.D., and B.K. Sullivan. 2009. Fifty years of hybridization:introgression between the Arizona toad (Bufo microscaphus) and Woodhouse’s toad (B. woodhousii) along Beaver Dam Wash in Utah. Herpetological Conservation and Biology 4(2):198–206.

Stork, W. Diezel, C., Halitschke, R., Gális, I., and I. T. Baldwin. 2009. An ecological analysis of the herbivory-elicited JA burst and its metabolism: Plant memory processes and predictions of the moving target model. PlosOne 4 (3): e4697.

2008

Halitschkel, R., J.A. Stenberg, D. Kessler, A. Kessler, I.T. Baldwin. 2008. Shared signals–'alarm calls' from plants increase apparency to herbivores and their enemies in nature. Ecology Letters 11(1):24–34. doi:10.1111/j.1461-0248.2007.01123.x

Kessler, D., Gase, K., and Ian T. Baldwin 2008. Field experiments with transformed plants reveal the sense of floral scents. Science 321: 1200-1202.

Mitra, S., and I.T. Baldwin. 2008. Independent silencing of two photosynthetic proteins in Nicotiana attenuata has different effects on herbivore resistance Plant Physiology 148: 1128-1138.

Pandey, S., Gaquerel, E., Gase, K., and Baldwin, I.T. 2008. RNA-directed RNA polymerase (RdR) 3 from Nicotiana attenuata is required for competitive growth in natural environments. Plant Physiology 147: 1212-1224.

Pandey, S., and I.T. Baldwin. 2008. Silencing RNA-directed RNA polymerase 2 (RdR2) increases Nicotiana attenuata’s susceptibility to UV in the field and in the glasshouse The Plant Journal 54: 845-862.

Paschold, A., Bonaventure, G., Kant, M., and I.T. Baldwin. 2008 Jasmonate perception regulates jasmonate biosynthesis and JA-Ile metabolism: the case of COI1 in Nicotiana attenuata. Plant and Cell Physiology 49: 1165-1175.

Rayapuram, C., and I.T. Baldwin. 2008. Host-plant-mediated effects of Nadefensin on herbivore and pathogen resistance in Nicotiana attenuata. Plant Biology 8 109.

Rayapuram, C., Wu, J., Haas, C., and I.T. Baldwin. 2008. PR-13/Thionin not PR-1 mediates bacterial resistance in Nicotiana attenuata in nature and neither influences herbivore resistance. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions 21: 988-1000.

Skibbe, M., Qu, N., Gális, I., and I.T. Baldwin. 2008. Induced plant defenses in the natural environment: Nicotiana attenuata’s WRKY3 and WRKY6 coordinate responses to herbivory. The Plant Cell 20: 1984-2000.

Steppuhn, A., Schuman, M.C., and Baldwin, I.T., 2008. Silencing jasmonate (JA) signaling and JA-mediated defenses reveals different survival strategies between two Nicotiana attenuata accessions. Molecular Ecology 17: 3717-3732.

2007

Barazani, O., von Dahl, C.C., and I.T. Baldwin 2007. Sebacina vermifera promotes the growth and fitness of Nicotiana attenuata by inhibiting ethylene signalling. Plant Physiology 144: 1223-1232.

Berger, B., and I.T. Baldwin. 2007. The hydroxyproline-rich glycopeptide systemin precursor NapreproHypSys does not play a central role in Nicotiana attenuata’s anti-herbivore defense responses Plant, Cell and Environment 30: 1450–1464.

Kessler, D. and I.T. Baldwin. 2007. Making sense of nectar scents: the effects of nectar secondary metabolites on floral visitors of Nicotiana attenuata. The Plant Journal 49: 840-854.

Pandey, S.P., and I.T. Baldwin. 2007. RNA-directed RNA polymerase1 (RdR1) mediates the resistance of Nicotiana attenuata to herbivore attack in nature. The Plant Journal 50: 40-53.

Paschold, A., Halitschke, R. and I.T. Baldwin 2007. Co(i) ordinating defense NaCOI1 mediates herbivore-induced resistance in Nicotiana attenuata and reveals the role of herbivore movement in avoiding defenses. The Plant Journal 51: 79-91.

Rayapuram C., and I.T. Baldwin. 2007. Increased SA in NPR1–silenced plants antagonizes JA and JA-dependent direct and indirect defenses in herbivore-attacked Nicotiana attenuata in nature. The Plant Journal 52: 700-715.

Wu, J., Kurten, E.L., Monshausen, G., Hummel, G.M., Gilroy, S., and I.T. Baldwin. 2007 NaRALF, a peptide signal essential for the regulation of root hair tip apoplastic pH in Nicotiana attenuata, is required for root hair development and plant growth in native soils. The Plant Journal 52: 877-890.

2006

Baldwin, I.T., R. Halitschke, A. Paschold, C.C. von Dahl, and C.A. Preston. 2006. Volatile signaling in plant-plant interactions: “talking trees“ in the genomic era. Science 311: 812–815.

Gilliland, K.D., N.J. Huntly, and J.E. Anderson. 2006. Age and population structure of Joshua trees (Yucca brevifolia) in the northwestern Mojave Desert. Western North American Naturalist 66:202–208.

Kessler, A., R. Halitschke, C. Diezel, and I.T. Baldwin. 2006. Priming of plant defense responses in nature by airborne signaling between Artemisia tridentata and Nicotiana attenuata. Oecologia 148: 280-292.

2004

Kessler, A., and I.T. Baldwin. 2004. Herbivore-induced plant vaccination I: The orchestration of plant defenses in nature and their fitness consequences in the wild tobacco Nicotiana attenuata. The Plant Journal 38: 639-649.

Keßler A; Halitschke R; Baldwin IT (2004): Silencing the jasmonate cascade: Induced plant defenses and insect populations. Science 305, 665-668.

Preston, C.A., G. Laue, and I.T. Baldwin. 2004. Plant-plant signaling: Application of trans- or cis-methyl jasmonate equivalent to sagebrush releases does not elicit direct defenses in native tobacco. Journal of Chemical Ecology 30: 2193-2200.

Preston, C.A., R. Becker, and I.T. Baldwin. 2004. Is NO news good news? Nitrogen oxides are not components of smoke that elicits germination in two smoke-stimulated species, Nicotiana attanuata and Emmenanthe penduliflora. Seed Science Research 14: 73-79.

Steppuhn A; Gase K; Krock B; Halitschke R; Baldwin IT (2004): Nicotine’s defensive function in nature. PLOS-Biology 2, 1074-1080

2003

Baldwin IT (2003): "Curing" of Nicotiana attenuata leaves by small mammals does not decrease nicotine contents. Western North American Naturalist 63, 114-117

Glawe G; Zavala JA; Keßler A; van Dam NM; Baldwin IT (2003): Ecological costs and benefits correlated with trypsin protease inhibitor production in Nicotiana attenuata. Ecology 84, 79-9

Sime K; Baldwin IT (2003): Opportunistic out-crossing in Nicotiana attenuata (Solanaceae), a prodominantly self-fertilizing native tobacco. BMC Ecology 3, art.no. 6

van Dam, N.M., and I.T. Baldwin. 2003. Heritability of a quantitative and qualitative protease inhibitor polymorphism in Nicotiana attenuata. Plant Biol (Stuttg) 5(2):179–185. doi:10.1055/s-2003-40719

2002

Keßler A; Baldwin IT (2002): Manduca quinquemaculata's optimization of intra-plant oviposition to predation, food quality, and thermal constraints. Ecology 83, 2346- 2354

Preston CA; Betts H; Baldwin IT (2002): Methyl jasmonate as an allelopathic agent: Sagebrush inhibits germination of a neighboring tobacco, Nicotiana attenuata. Journal of Chemical Ecology 28, 2343-2369

2001

Keßler A; Baldwin IT (2001): Defensive function of herbivore-induced plant volatile emissions in nature. Science 291, 2141-2144

Voelckel C; Krügel T; Gase K; Heidrich N; van Dam NM; Winz R; Baldwin IT (2001): Anti-sense expression of putrescine N-methyltransferase confirms defensive role of nicotine in Nicotiana sylvestris against Manduca sexta. Chemoecology 11, 121- 126

1999

Preston CA; Baldwin IT (1999): Positive and negative signals regulate germination in the post- fire annual, Nicotiana attenuata. Ecology 80, 481-494

1998

Baldwin IT (1998): Jasmonate-induced responses are costly but benefit plants under attack in native populations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 95, 8113-8118

1996

Davidson, D.W., V.D. Newmark, J.W. Sites Jr., D.K. Shiozawa, E.A. Rickart, K.T. Harper, and R.B. Keiter. 1996. Selecting wilderness areas to conserve Utah's biological diversity. Great Basin Naturalist 56:95–118.

1994

Rasmuson, K.E., J.E. Anderson, and N. Huntly. 1994. Coordination of branch orientation and photosynthetic physiology in the Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia). Great Basin Naturalist 54:204–211.

1992

Yearsley, K.H., S.R. Rushforth, and J.R. Johansen. 1992. Diatom flora of Beaver Dam Creek, Washington County, Utah, USA. Great Basin Naturalist 52:131–138.

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