Scott M. Francis

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URM Project

The potential effect of quinolizidine alkaloids (Lupinine and Spartiene) in Scotch Broom (Cytisus scoparius) on soil microbial processes in Ft. Lewis, WA.  Scott Francis, Karen Haubensak, Kitty Gehring. Forestry/Biologial Sciences.

Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius) (broom) is an invasive legume that produces quinolizidine alkaloids (QA’s) which have been shown to inhibit growth in herbaceous species. Because the distribution of QA’s in soil has not yet been measured, the effect of broom has not been completely investigated.  The purpose of this project is to determine the soil legacy of broom with respect to QA’s.  Soil and plant material were collected from Ft. Lewis military base in Yelm, WA.  Alkaloids from these samples will be extracted using methods similar to Gresser et. al (1996), and subsequently  analyzed by GC-MS.

Invaded and univaded soil samples will be measured for microbial activity via CO2 efflux, and  mycorrhizal growth rates in the presence of broom material will be measured in pitri dishes in order to investigate the potential inhibitory effect. Information gathered from these experiments will aid in understanding the mechanism by which broom is successful in its radiation.

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Other Research Interests

I have an affinity for plants and am interested in research concerning the spatial patterns of forested ecosystems as it relates to ecosystem function.
Now that recent drying events have been somewhat attributed to a changing climate, along with my URM project, I am involved in observing how plants are responding to an ever-drying and increasingly warming environment. I will be studying the regeneration and recruitment of Pinyon pine (Pinus edulis) in the face of prolonged drought throughout the Pinyon - Juniper woodlands north of the San Francisco Peaks in Flagstaff, AZ.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) in conjunction with Northern Arizona University has funded his endeavor to investigate pinyon pine regeneration in the form of an Undergraduate Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) and a Hooper Undergraduate Research Award (HURA). These fellowships and grants will allow me to gain experience in cutting edge research and contribute to the collection of natural resource management ideologies that land managers subscribe to.