Sagebrush steppe ecosystems have been impacted by climate change, grazing, and invasive plants. While some widespread sagebrush species have been well-studied, including big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), others like silver sagebrush (Artemisia cana) and low sagebrush (Artemisia arbuscula) are understudied. To learn more about how to restore these important ecosystems, we conducted a germination study of two sagebrush species. We germinated seeds from A. cana in petri plates and in soil to compare the rates of germination in both methods, while A. arbuscula seeds were germinated only in petri plates. We also tested the efficiency of weighing and a photography app to estimate the number of seeds. The germination rate for both species was low, but there was a strong correlation between the manual seed counts and the app counts as well as the seed counts and seed weights. It is possible that A. cana and A. arbuscula naturally have low germination rates or the lack of pre-trial treatment of seeds could have contributed to the low germination rates. Though our results were limited, there is a possibility that drought could have an effect on seed germination, and subsequently the success of future restoration projects, but that more research is needed.
Environmental Science and Management