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Soil cultured by nearby conspecific species often exhibits an adverse effect on seedling survivability. This association is frequently studied in seedlings, but less so at the germination stage. The grassland plants, Panicum virgatum, Schizachyrium scoparium, Dactylis glomerata, Rudbeckia subtomentosa, and Echinacea purpurea were used to evaluate germination success after exposure to soil cultured by the same species versus other species. Echinacea purpurea displayed negative soil feedback by lowered germination success in its own soil. This is one of the first studies to show feedback occurring at the seed stage. Knowledge of seed-soil feedback will aid in understanding species establishment, and be applied to conservation and restoration efforts. This is critical to preserve grassland ecosystems’ ability to decrease soil erosion, improve soil fertility, protect water quality and wildlife, combat pollution, and its influential role in both grain and meat production.
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Kelsick, Emma Nicholson, "The Effect of Conspecific and Heterospecific Soil Feedback on Seed Germination" (2017). Senior Projects Spring 2017. 119.