Elizabeth Anne Leger

Elizabeth Anne Leger
University of Nevada, Reno | UNR · Department of Biology

PhD

About

107
Publications
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2,108
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Publications

Publications (107)
Preprint
A history of species co-occurrence in plant communities is hypothesized to lead to greater niche differentiation, more efficient resource partitioning, and more productive, resistant communities as a result of evolution in response to biotic interactions. We asked if individual species or community responses differed when communities were founded w...
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Research on plant-pollinator interactions requires a diversity of perspectives and approaches, and documenting changing pollinator-plant interactions due to declining insect diversity and climate change is especially challenging. Natural history collections are increasingly important for such research and can provide ecological information across b...
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Restoration planning requires a reliable seed supply, yet many projects occur in response to unplanned events. Identifying regions of greater risk could help guide seed procurement. Using fire perimeters (2000–2019), we investigated differences in fire occurrence (frequency, area burned, percent of area burned) among seed transfer zones within Cold...
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Soil specialists can have restricted distributions, and effective management in the face of land use change depends on a thorough understanding of the ecology of these unique plants. We investigated the ecology of Eriogonum tiehmii Reveal, a rare soil specialist, using pitfall traps, flower observations, and pollinator exclusion to assess arthropod...
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Fine-scale spatial genetic structure in a locally abundant native bunchgrass (Achnatherum 1 thurberianum) including distinct lineages revealed within seed transfer zones 2 Abstract 20 Analyses of the factors shaping spatial genetic structure in widespread plant species are important 21 for understanding evolutionary history and local adaptation and...
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Trait–environment correlations can arise from local adaptation and can identify genetically and environmentally appropriate seeds for restoration projects. However, anthropogenic changes can disrupt the relationships between traits and fitness. Finding the best seed sources for restoration may rely on describing plant traits adaptive in disturbed a...
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The spatial structure of genomic and phenotypic variation across populations reflects historical and demographic processes as well as evolution via natural selection. Characterizing such variation can provide an important perspective for understanding the evolutionary consequences of changing climate and for guiding ecological restoration. While ev...
Preprint
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The spatial structure of genomic and phenotypic variation across populations reflects historical and demographic processes as well as evolution via natural selection. Characterizing such variation can provide an important perspective for understanding the evolutionary consequences of changing climate and for guiding ecological restoration. While ev...
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Restoration of degraded drylands is urgently needed to mitigate climate change, reverse desertification and secure livelihoods for the two billion people who live in these areas. Bold global targets have been set for dryland restoration to restore millions of hectares of degraded land. These targets have been questioned as overly ambitious, but wit...
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The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration will result in an unprecedented need for seeds. Agricultural production, or the growing of plants under controlled conditions to produce desired resources, can be a helpful tool for providing the quantities of seeds needed for large‐scale restoration. In some ecosystems, agricultural production of native plant...
Article
A full list of affiliations appears at the end of the paper. R estoration ecology is rapidly advancing in response to the ever-expanding global decline in ecosystem integrity and its associated socioeconomic repercussions 1-4. Nowhere are these dynamics more evident than in drylands, which help sustain 39% of the world's human population 5 but rema...
Article
Exotic annual grasses dominate millions of hectares and increase fire frequency in the sagebrush ecosystem of North America. This devastating invasion is so costly and challenging to revegetate with perennial vegetation that restoration efforts need to be prioritized and strategically implemented. Management needs to break the annual grass-fire cyc...
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Reducing invasive species abundance near the leading edge of invasions is important for maintaining diverse, high-functioning ecosystems, but it can be hard to remove invasives present at low levels within desirable plant communities. Focusing on an invasive annual grass, Bromus tectorum, near the edge of its range in the southern Colorado Plateau,...
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Understanding local adaptation to climate is critical for managing ecosystems in the face of climate change. While there have been many provenance studies in trees, less is known about local adaptation in herbaceous species, including the perennial grasses that dominate arid and semiarid rangeland ecosystems. We used a common garden study to quanti...
Article
Premise: Understanding edaphic specialization is crucial for conserving rare plants that may need relocation due to habitat loss. Focusing on Eriogonum crosbyae, a rare soil specialist in the Great Basin of the United States, we asked how site-level variation among volcanic soil outcrops affected plant growth and population distribution. Methods:...
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Partnerships between researchers and restoration practitioners can improve restoration outcomes, which is especially important for restoration in challenging settings. Here, we describe one such partnership in the Great Basin, United States, which used trait‐based methods and practitioner knowledge to identify the most promising seed sources for re...
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Seeds of Success (SOS) is a national seed collection program led by the Bureau of Land Management. SOS represents the most comprehensive native seed repository in the United States, supporting native plant restoration, management, and research. Since inception in 2000, SOS has collected seeds from over 24,400 native plant populations from ~5,600 ta...
Preprint
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Establishing plants from seed is often a limitation to restoration success in semi-arid systems. For restoration purposes, managers can either use widely-available commercial seeds, which are often sourced from far outside the seeding area, or take extra steps to use locally collected seeds. If local seeds have traits more conducive to seedling est...
Article
Agricultural legacies in arid and semi-arid environments can hinder revegetation efforts designed to mitigate erosion, slow the spread of invasive weeds, and improve ecosystem services. Restoration outcomes may be improved by understanding how altered soil properties impact the establishment of desired plant species. In this study, we characterized...
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1.Seed‐based restoration is one of the most difficult challenges for dryland restoration. Identifying environmental conditions that drive variation in seed and seedling mortality across similar restoration efforts could increase understanding of when and where restoration outcomes are likely to be favorable and identify new tools and strategies to...
Article
Expansion of native pinyon-juniper (Pinus monophylla-Juniperus osteosperma)woodlands can decrease shrub and herbaceous cover in the Intermountain West, U.S., affecting habitat quality and biodiversity. Removing pinyon-juniper woodlands in former sagebrush ecosystems to increase understory cover has a long management history, and short- and long-ter...
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The Great Basin Desert is among the most difficult places for successful ecological restoration due to the repeated effects of fire, aridity and invasive plants. The goal of this research was to determine whether four local populations of two native annual forb species, Microsteris gracilis and Layia glandulosa, differed in the capacity to survive...
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Variation in natural selection across heterogeneous landscapes often produces (a) among‐population differences in phenotypic traits, (b) trait‐by‐environment associations, and (c) higher fitness of local populations. Using a broad literature review of common garden studies published between 1941 and 2017, we documented the commonness of these three...
Article
1.Many restoration projects use seeds to found new populations, and understanding phenotypic traits associated with seedling establishment in disturbed and invaded communities is important for restoration efforts worldwide. Focusing on the perennial grass Elymus elymoides, a native species common to sagebrush steppe communities in the Western Unite...
Preprint
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Variation in natural selection across heterogenous landscapes often produces 1) among-population differences in phenotypic traits, 2) trait-by-environment associations, and 3) higher fitness of local populations. Using a broad literature search, we documented the frequency of these three signatures in plants native to North America's Great Basin an...
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Many drylands have been converted from perennial‐dominated ecosystems to invaded, annual‐dominated, fire‐prone systems. Innovative approaches are needed to disrupt fire‐invasion feedbacks. Targeted grazing can reduce invasive plant abundance and associated flammable fuels, and fuelbreaks can limit fire spread. Restored strips of native plants (nati...
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Restoration of agricultural fields is challenging, especially in arid and semi-arid ecosystems. We conducted experiments in two fields in the Great Basin, USA, which differed in cultivation history and fertility. We tested the effects of different levels of functional diversity (planting grasses and shrubs together, vs. planting shrubs alone), seed...
Data
Species and seeding rates used in the experiment, with location of seed origins. (PDF)
Data
Results tables and figures for weed abundance and height in 2016 and 2017. (PDF)
Data
Weed composition at the study sites. (PDF)
Data
Results figure for shrub density in 2016 in the South Field, shown separately by irrigation regime. (PDF)
Data
Results figure for shrub density in 2016 in the South Field, as related to the 4-factor model (Table 2(ii)). (PDF)
Data
Soil characteristics at the study sites. (PDF)
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Aim Abiotic conditions are key components that determine the distribution of species. However, co‐occurring species can respond differently to the same factors, and determining which climate components are most predictive of geographic distributions is important for understanding community response to climate change. Here, we estimate and compare c...
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Spatial and temporal environmental variability can lead to variation in selection pressures across a landscape. Strategies for coping with environmental heterogeneity range from specialized phenotypic responses to a narrow range of conditions to generalist strategies that function under a range of conditions. Here, we ask how mean climate and clima...
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While much research has documented the impact of invaders on native communities and ecosystem services, there has been less work quantifying how invasion affects the genetic composition of native populations. That is, when invaders dominate a community, can they shift selection regimes and impact the evolutionary trajectory of native populations? T...
Article
Restoration islands are concentrated plantings in strategic locations, created to efficiently use resources to achieve restoration goals. These methods have been used effectively in mesic ecosystems, particularly tropical forests, where the goal of island plantings is often to “nucleate” across a degraded area, providing a seed source for spread ou...
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• The phenomenon of cheatgrass die-off is a common and naturally occurring stand failure that can eliminate the presence of this annual grass for a year or more, affecting tens to hundreds of thousands of acres in some years. • We designed a study to determine if the temporary lack of cheatgrass caused by die-offs is a restoration opportunity. We s...
Article
The exotic annual grass Bromus tectorum (cheatgrass) dominates vast acreages of rangeland in the western USA, leading to increased fire frequency and ecosystem degradation that is often irreversible. Episodic regeneration failure (“die-off”) has been observed in cheatgrass monocultures and can have negative ecosystem consequences, but can also prov...
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Thurber’s needlegrass (Achnatherum thurberianum [Piper] Barkworth) is a key restoration species in the Great Basin and surrounding areas, yet comprehensive studies of how climate relates to genetic variation and seed zones for restoration projects are lacking. Potentially adaptive phenotypic traits of 66 diverse populations of Thurber’s needlegrass...
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Premise of the study Bromus tectorum (Poaceae) is an annual grass species that is invasive in many areas of the world but most especially in the U.S. Intermountain West. Single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers were developed for use in investigating the geospatial and ecological diversity of B. tectorum in the Intermountain West to better unde...
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Bromus tectorum, an inbreeding annual grass, is a dominant invader in sagebrush steppe habitat in North America. It is also common in warm and salt deserts, displaying a larger environmental tolerance than most native species. We tested the hypothesis that a suite of habitat-specific B. tectorum lineages dominates warm desert habitats. We sampled 3...
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The invasive annual grass Bromus tectorum (cheatgrass) creates multiple challenges as it spreads across the Great Basin, fueling repeated wildfires and dominating large expanses of land that were once sagebrush shrublands. The replacement of shrublands by annual grasslands has been widespread and much research has focused upon loss of wildlife habi...
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Bromus tectorum (cheatgrass) has widely invaded the Great Basin, U.S.A. The sporadic natural phenomenon of complete stand failure (‘die-off’) of this invader may present opportunities to restore native plants. A recent die-off in Nevada was precision-planted with seeds of the native grasses Poa secunda (Sandberg bluegrass) and Elymus elymoides (bot...
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QuestionsHow does performance of a native early seral seed mix during early life stages compare to that of a late seral mix when seeded with Bromus tectorum or Taeniatherum caput-medusae? Does either mix reduce survival of exotic annual grasses during early life stages, and does this effect differ with soil type? Is exotic performance stronger in o...
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Background Although permanent tattoos are becoming increasingly commonplace, there is a paucity of epidemiological data on adverse tattoo reactions. Several European studies have indicated that tattoo reactions may be relatively common, although the extent of this phenomenon in the United States is largely unknown.Objectives To provide insights int...
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• The ability to respond to environmental change via phenotypic plasticity may be important for plants experiencing disturbances such as climate change and plant invasion. Responding to belowground competition through root plasticity may allow native plants to persist in highly invaded systems such as the cold deserts of the Intermountain West, USA...
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Restoration in the Great Basin is typically a large-scale enterprise, with aerial, drill, and broadcast seeding of perennial species common after wildfires. Arid conditions and invasive plants are significant barriers to overcome, but relatively simple changes to seeds used for restoration may improve success. Here we summarize: 1) the composition...
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Seedling survival is a limiting factor in arid-land restoration. We investigated how variation in the root traits of glasshouse-reared seedlings related to the field performance of different genotypes from two populations of Elymus elymoides (squirreltail), a common bunchgrass native to the Western United States. Seeds from 100 E. elymoides individ...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Anthropogenic emissions have increased atmospheric nitrogen deposition nearly four-fold since preindustrial times. Joshua Tree National Park has seen a similar increase, creating a gradient from high deposition in the west to near preindustrial rates in the east. Greater N availability, although usually beneficial for...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Many desert plants have some degree of seed dormancy. Explanations for this common life history strategy include the ability to persist during unfavorable environmental conditions, the reduction of seedling competition, and maximizing fitness through higher precision in the timing of germination. Seed dormancy affects...
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Background: Clinical photography enhances medical care, research, and teaching. Empirical data are needed to guide best practices regarding dermatologic photography. Objective: To investigate patient opinion about clinical photography and identify demographic factors that influence these opinions. Methods and materials: Four hundred patients r...
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Re-seeding efforts to restore or rehabilitate Great Basin rangelands invaded by exotic annual grasses are expensive and have generally achieved limited success. There is a need to identify new strategies to improve restoration outcomes. We tested the performance of a native early seral seed mix (annual forbs, early seral grasses and shrubs) with th...
Conference Paper
Interest in the production of cellulosic biomass as a source of ethanol has increased dramatically in response to questions concerning the sustainability of starch based ethanol sources and federal mandates that required the production of up to 16 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol annually by 2022. While warm season grasses have been the focus...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Flammability varies among plant species. Several hypotheses have been put forward about the benefits of plants developing increased flammability, including: elimination of competitors, creation of optimal conditions for germination, and promotion of quicker burning fires to preserve saplings and underground organs. If...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Shrubs are integral components of many arid ecosystems, as they are long-lived, drought-tolerant, and provide valuable wildlife habitat. In arid regions, native shrub restoration is hindered by both abiotic and biotic challenges. Abiotic challenges include wind erosion and water stress, which often limit revegetation i...
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Extension Master Gardener (EMG) volunteers are central to expanding the outreach and engagement of extension staff. A workshop format was used at the Annual Conference of the American Society for Horticultural Science on 31 July 2012 in Miami, FL to identify successful management techniques and projects that expand EMG volunteer outreach, leading t...