Tyler R. Shaver
Hailey Sermersheim, Kylee Larsen
Juniperus osteosperma, known locally as Utah Juniper, is one of the most abundant trees in the Utah desert and commonly found in higher montane areas. Endemic to Utah and surrounding western states, J. osteosperma is a monoecious perennial evergreen characterized by its bushy appearance, rounded crown, small scale-like leaves, and berry-like cones. J. osteosperma provides important habitat and forage for many native plants and animals, with several bird species depending on the cones for forage during fall and winter months. The identification and cataloging of native plants such as J. osteosperma and their associates is of utmost importance for proper rangeland management. Understanding how the sum of individual factors within an environment affect one another leads to informed decisions on land use and species management. Fungal associates, particularly root mycorrhizae, are a severely understudied environmental factor and have been shown to play an important role in the health of their associated plants and the surrounding environment. The purpose of this research was to isolate and identify soil fungal species associated with J. osteosperma in order to determine similarities of fungal associates between several J. osteosperma individuals; as well as the overall richness of fungi associated with J. osteosperma compared to its surrounding environment. The identification of fungal species associated with J. osteosperma will give insight into the richness and species of mycorrhizae required by J. osteosperma in order to thrive in its environment. Soil collections were obtained from inside and outside the rhizosphere of three J. osteosperma individuals. The fungus was isolated and colonized on antibacterial agar plates and identified through PCR sequencing. The isolation and identification are ongoing, at its completion this abstract will be finalized with a list of found associates.
University / Institution: Utah Valley University
Format: In Person
SESSION B (10:45AM-12:15PM)
Area of Research: Science & Technology
Faculty Mentor: Olga Kopp