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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biology and Microbiology

First Advisor

Heike Bucking


Due to the low input requirements, and high energy production, prairie cordgrass (Spartina pectinata) is considered to be the future of the bioenergy industry. Prairie cordgrass has a large native range covering much of North America, and is typically found along roadsides, ditches, marshes, flood plains, and streams. It is tolerant of mild salinity and alkaline levels, and resistant to stress brought on by drought due to its C4 metabolism. Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi help increase the biotic and abiotic stress resistance of the majority of land plants. They also play a critical role in nutrient acquisition for plants. The primary objectives of these studies were: (1) Identify and characterize AM fungal communities associated with prairie cordgrass at different sites in South Dakota. (2) Study the effect of different AM fungi have on biomass and nutrient uptake of prairie cordgrass under varying phosphate and nitrogen supply conditions, and determine if AM fungi make significant contributions. Prairie cordgrass is highly colonized under natural conditions with AM fungi and with observed colonization rates of up to 65% under field conditions. AM fungi that were identified belonged to the class glomeromycetes (Glomeromycota). Under low nutrient supply conditions AM fungi increased the biomass production of prairie cordgrass. The increase in biomass due to AM fungi is reduced as nutrient supply conditions increased. The increase in the total P content of mycorrhizal plants indicates that AM fungi can contribute significantly to the P nutrition of prairie cordgrass.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizas
Fungal communities -- South Dakota
Grasses -- Nutrition -- South Dakota


Includes bibliographical references (pages 92-94)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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