Do Endophytes help with Resistance to Drought and Herbivory in Ammophila breviligulata?
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Studies being done on relationships between plants and endophytes (fungi living within the stems and leafs of their host plant) are relatively new. Most of the work being done in this area has focused on tall fescue and other agricultural and pasture grasses. Little is known about how endophytes may help or inhibit native plants growing in the wild. Past research has shown that endophytes may help a plant in times of drought and also may help deter herbivores. What this study set out to do was show how an endophyte may help or hamper Ammophila breviligulata, a C3 grass found growing in sand dunes under harsh conditions, under conditions of drought and extreme herbivory. We found out that while the herbivore used, Trimerotropis maritima, preferred a nonendophyte infected plant, both plants showed reduced growth. Also, the infected plant had more growth than the non-infected plant did in all of the treatments.