Agronomy and Crop Sciences | Biotechnology | Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
All new technologies carry both benefits and risks. Genetically-modified plants must be assessed before they are released into the environment. Our research examines plant gene flow and the potential impacts from environmental release of genetically-modified plants. Plant gene flow is a natural process that occurs when pollen from one plant lands on the flower of another plant and produces a hybrid offspring. Gene flow can produce hybrid offspring with new traits that could change the ability of the plant to survive and spread. If hybrid offspring have some advantage in the environment, they could become invasive and/or affect other components of our ecosystems. In the near future, the federal government may approve herbicide-resistant (HR) creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera), a common, non-native grass used on golf courses. We are using plant ecology coupled with spatial information to gain an understanding of the possible risks associated with escape of the HR trait. Using spatial information and ecology, a habitat suitability model (HSM) is being made to help predict where bentgrasses exist and where management problems may occur.
Auer, Carol and Ahrens, Collin, "Integration of GIS and Bentgrass Ecology for Ecological Risk Assessment." (2007). Plant Science Presentations and Proceedings. Paper 4.