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Correlation of Climatic Factors and Occurrence of Puccinia grindeliae on Herbarium Specimens of Gutierrezia spp. Collected in Southwestern States Since 1891


Bulletin 773
C. M. Liddell, Assistant Professor of Plant Pathology, Department of Entomology, Plant Pathology and Weed Science
C. A. Waddell, Research Assistant, Department of Entomology, Plant Pathology and Weed Science
E. K. Haskins, Laboratory Assistant, Department of Entomology, Plant Pathology and Weed Science
J. P. McEntee, Former Research Assistant, present address Department of Microbiology, University of New Mexico School of Medicine
College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences New Mexico State University


Acknowledgements

This research was supported by the New Mexico Agricultural Experiment Station. We thank the curators of herbaria visited during the course of this study for their assistance in providing facilities and specimens. We particularly thank Dr. Kelly Allred (Department of Animal and Range Sciences) and Dr. Rich Spellenberg (Department of Biology), both of New Mexico State University, for their generous help with the study, particularly the identification of Gutierrezia species. We also thank Dr. Leigh Murray, Department of Experimental Statistics at New Mexico State University, for assistance with the statistical analyses and acknowledge Ted Slater’s excellent computer support.

Table of Contents

Procedures
    Herbarium Collections
    Survey of Herbarium Specimens
    Analysis of Historical Weather Data
    Field Survey
Results
    Survey of Herbarium Specimens
    Analysis of Historical Weather Data
    Field Survey
Discussion
References


Broom snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae [Pursh] Britton and Rusby) is a weedy, half-shrub native to the rangelands of the western United States, Mexico, and Canada (Lane, 1985). Gutierrezia sarothrae and related species have been spreading throughout southwestern rangelands over the past 100 years in response to environmental and human factors (McDaniel, Pieper, and Donart, 1982). Broom snakeweed is toxic to cattle and responsible for poor forage production (Heitschmidt, 1979; McDaniel et al., 1982; Nabado, Pieper, and Beck, 1980). We are evaluating the potential of Puccinia grindeliae Peck to act as a biological control agent of Gutierrezia spp. in the southwestern U.S.

We chose Puccinia grindeliae for this study because it is a member of a genus of plant pathogenic fungi that contains some of the most devastating known pathogens of plants and it attacks only broom snakeweed and closely related plants. Puccinia Persoon. species, many of which cause significant economic losses annually on crops throughout the world, are rust pathogens of virtually all higher plants (Cummins and Hiratsuka, 1983). Puccinia species are basidiomycetes, are therefore related to mushrooms and, in common with mushrooms, produce basidia and basidiospores. There are 3,000 to 4,000 different species of Puccinia, all showing a remarkable degree of host specificity. Most species of Puccinia attack only one or two plant genera and in some cases may attack only a few varieties of one plant species. This means they are potentially ideal biological control agents, being both devastating pathogens that are highly selective and highly damaging to target weeds but not to nontarget plants. Puccinia species often do not kill their hosts, but reduce photosynthesis dramatically by destroying leaf tissue and eliminating flowering and fruit production very effectively (fig. 1a).

Fig. 1a: Photograph of herbarium specimen #567 from Nara Visa, NM, collected in 1907.

Fig. 1a. Herbarium specimen #567 from Nara Visa, NM, collected in 1907.

Fig. 1b: Close-up photograph of Puccinia grindeliae on specimen #567.

Fig. 1b. Close-up of Puccinia grindeliae on specimen #567.

Rust fungi such as Puccinia are obligate pathogens of living land plants and get their name from the rusty yellow or orange color of the spore pustules on green plant tissue. Many species of Puccinia produce up to five distinct spore stages, and many require two unrelated groups of host plants in order to complete their life cycle (heteroecious life cycle). However, several species such as P. grindeliae produce only two spore stages and complete their life cycle on only one host (autoecious life cycle). Puccinia grindeliae produces only basidiospores and teliospores and completes its entire life cycle on Gutierrezia species and about 20 other closely related genera of weedy plants (Cummins, 1978). The basidiospores are the infectious spore stage, and the teliospores are dark, thick-walled overseasoning spores that occur in small black pustules called “telia” on leaves and photosynthetic stems. Occasionally, we have observed other spore stages, such as aeciospores and the rust-colored urediniospores, but these spore stages do not appear to be common in the field, and we do not believe they play an important role in the epidemiology of snakeweed rust caused by P. grindeliae.

In epidemiological studies on P. grindeliae (Liddell, Waddell, and McEntee, 1993), we found the examination of dried herbarium specimens of Gutierrezia spp. provided a good source of information on the historical distribution of P. grindeliae. This bulletin reports on the use of dried herbarium specimens to determine the historical distribution patterns of P. grindeliae, as part of a major project to determine the long-term potential of P. grindeliae as a biocontrol agent of broom snakeweed in the southwestern U.S.

Herbarium collections are a valuable resource for historical investigations into pathogens of non-crop plants such as Gutierrezia. First, it is easy to examine a large number of sites quickly and efficiently, covering a wider area than can be readily visited. Second, some collections represent sites that are no longer accessible or existent. Third and most important, dried herbarium specimens provide the only source of historical information on diseases of rangeland weeds, due to an almost complete lack of published information on these pathogens.

P. grindeliae was first described in Colorado on Grindeliae squarrosa Pursh (Dunal) in 1879 (Peck, 1879). Most of the information about diseases and pathogens of rangeland weeds, such as Gutierrezia, is contained only in descriptive reports and floras. P. grindeliae has been reported in just 14 publications since 1918 (Brenckle, 1918; Cummins, 1979; Farr, Bills, Chamuris, and Rossman, 1989; Gilbertson and McHenry, 1969; Solheim, 1934, 1940, 1943, 1954; Solheim and Cummins, 1957, 1959, 1970a, 1970b, 1979; Yohem, Cummins, and Gilbertson, 1985). The scant epidemiological and ecological data available on P. grindeliae is found only in detailed floras, such as Cummins (1978). There are certainly no reports on the distribution of this pathogen in the first half of this century, and virtually nothing is known about its occurrence. This lack of information on diseases and pathogens of rangeland weeds is due to their low economic importance, coupled with the nature of the habitats where these plants occur.

The objectives of our study are: 1) to provide some rudimentary information on the occurrence of P. grindeliae over the past 100 years; 2) to determine the longevity of P. grindeliae at specific sites in New Mexico and Arizona; 3) to correlate rust collections with climate records; and 4) to evaluate the correlation of herbarium collections with occurrence in the field and mortality of snakeweed over the past 100 years.

Procedures

Herbarium Collections

Dried herbarium specimens of 11 species of Gutierrezia at nine university herbaria in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas (table 1) were examined microscopically for telia of P. grindeliae. The study comprised a total of 1,048 herbarium specimens of Gutierrezia spp. collected throughout the southwestern U.S. from 1891 to 1991. Most of these specimens were collected in North America, and all identities were confirmed by Meredith Lane (Lane, 1982, 1983, 1985) (table 1). Seven additional specimens of P. grindeliae, on G. sarothrae and G. californica, were also examined at the University of Arizona Mycology Herbarium (table 1). All herbarium specimens examined were originally assigned to 24 species of Gutierrezia, which were reduced to synonymy with 11 species based on a recent taxonomic revision (Lane, 1985). Accepted species included in our study are listed in table 2.

Table 1. Herbarium collections examined for the occurrence of Puccinia grindeliae telia on Gutierrezia spp.

Herbarium Number of
specimens
examined
Number of specimens
bearing telia of
P. grindeliae
New Mexico State University
    Biological Science
    Range Science

162
25

14
2
University of New Mexico
    Biology

238

4
Texas A & M University
    Range Science

241

4
University of Texas at Austin
    Botany

252

9
University of Texas at El Paso
    Biology

36

1
Texas Tech University
    Range Science

36

0
University of Arizona
    Biological Sciences

58

5
Sub-Total 1048 39
University of Arizona
    Mycologya

7

7
Total 1055 46
aHerbarium collections of P. grindeliae

Table 2. Species of Gutierrezia herbarium and field survey specimens examined for the presence of Puccinia grindeliae.

Species

Number of
herbarium
specimens
examined

Number of
herbarium
specimens
bearing
telia of
P. grindeliae
Number of
field survey
specimens
examined
Number of
field survey
specimens
bearing
telia of
P. grindeliae
Gutierrezia Lagasca spp. 11 0 0 0
G. alamanii A. Gray 2 0 0 0
G. californica (D.C) Torrey & A. Gray 10 3a 0 0
G. conoidea (Hemsley) M.A. Lane 2 0 0 0
G. grandis S.F. Blake 2 0 0 0
G. mandonii (Sch. Bip.) Solbrig 10 0 0 0
G. microcephala (D.C) A. Gray 201 4 0 0
G. sarothrae (Prush) Britton & Rusby 652 35b 35 20
G. serotina E. Greene 7 1 0 0
G. sphaerocephala A. Gray 82 2 0 0
G. texana (D.C) Torrey & A. Gray 58 1 0 0
G. wrightii A. Gray 18 0 0 0
aThese three specimens of Puccinia grindeliae were from the University of Arizona mycological herbarium.
bIncludes four specimens of Puccinia grindeliae from the University of Arizona mycological herbarium.

Survey of Herbarium Specimens

Herbarium specimens were examined in a systematic fashion by looking quickly for evidence of Puccinia grindeliae telia on leaves and stems. If no obvious telia were found the specimen was examined closely using a 10× lens for 5 minutes. All telia were confirmed to be P. grindeliae by removing a small number of teliospores from each specimen for microscopic observation. Annotations were made on all specimens where the presence of P. grindeliae was confirmed. The location of each collection and date of collection was noted for each specimen, and each location was mapped as accurately as annotations on the herbarium sheet would allow.

Analysis of Historical Weather Data

All specimens from herbaria, except the seven collections of P. grindeliae from the University of Arizona Mycology Herbarium, were mapped to obtain elevation, latitude, and longitude and to locate the nearest weather stations for precipitation and temperature data (table 3). Weather data were obtained from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Climatic Center (1905–1991); Williams and McAllister (1981); and Williams (1986). Elevation data were obtained from the herbarium sheets or from high-resolution topographic maps. Due to poor annotation on herbarium sheets and the paucity of good historic weather data, only 46 sites (23 paired sites) could be used in this analysis (table 3).

Table 3. Specimens used for logistic regression analysis.

Specimen
#
Rust
+/ −
Species County Date Weather
station
Distance
from
weather
station
(km)
Elevation
of site
(m)
Elevation of
weather
station
(m)
81 + G. sarothrae Otero 09 Aug 39 Mescalero 18.6 2092 2020
670 G. sarothrae Otero 14 Sep 60 Mescalero 9.3 2234 2020
121 + G. sarothrae Otero 08 Sep 39 Mescalero 18.6 2092 2020
795 G. sarothrae Otero 05 Sep 71 Mescalero 3.5 2084 2020
518 + G. microcephala Lincoln 07 Oct 07 Ft. Stanton 34.8 1966 1900
698 G. sarothrae Lincoln 09 Oct 71 Ft. Stanton 32.5 1755 1900
519 + G. microcephala Quay 18 Sep 07 Tucumcari 55.7 1167 1280
300 G. sarothrae Quay 26 Sep 64 Tucumcari 18.6 1210 1280
529 + G. sarothrae Doña Ana 28 Oct 06 Mesilla Pk 23.2 1314 1067
591 G. sphaerocephala Doña Ana 16 Sep 03 Mesilla Pk 23.2 1309 1067
547 + G. sarothrae Quay 19 Oct 07 Tucumcari 23.2 1321 1280
531 G. sarothrae Quay 24 Sep 07 Tucumcari 1.2 1247 1280
550 + G. sarothrae San Miguel 28 Sep 07 Las Vegas 1.2 1981 1951
845 G. microcephala San Miguel 24 Jul 63 Las Vegas 41.8 2300 1951
557 + G. sarothrae Colfax 22 Sep 07 Springer 1.6 1768 1786
307 G. sarothrae Colfax 05 Aug 44 Springer 1.6 1771 1786
561 + G. sarothrae De Baca 11 Oct 07 Portales 78.9 1253 1220
571 G. sarothrae De Baca 28 Aug 73 Ft. Sumner 11.6 1311 1207
565 + G. sarothrae Bernalillo * 1936 Albuquerque 23.2 1806 1585
657 G. sarothrae Bernalillo 11 Sep 64 Albuquerque 27.8 2012 1585
587 + G. sphaerocephala Sierra 20 Sep 07 Hillsboro 23.2 1615 1593
303 G. sarothrae Luna 06 Sep 39 Deming 27.8 1448 1319
689 + G. sarothrae Otero 02 Sep 52 Ruidoso 21.0 2042 2096
671 G. sarothrae Otero 10 Oct 71 Ruidoso 19.5 2164 2096
918 + G. sarothrae Guadelupe 15 Sep 35 Santa Rosa 2.4 1448 1410
294 G. sarothrae Guadelupe 03 Sep 29 Santa Rosa 1.6 1394 1410
937 + G. sarothrae Otero 15 Aug 38 Alamogordo 9.3 2235 1311
243 G. sarothrae Otero 09 Oct 16 Alamogordo 18.6 1341 1311
723 + G. sarothrae Sandoval 25 Sep 31 Santa Fe 32.5 1608 2134
820 G. sarothrae Sandoval 08 Jun 75 Santa Fe 27.8 1676 2134
759 + G. sarothrae Mora 01 Sep 76 Springer 51.0 2396 1786
926 G. sarothrae Colfax 08 Sep 32 Springer 11.7 1829 1786
567 + G. sarothrae Quay 02 Oct 07 Nara Visa 1.6 1265 1279
554 G. sarothrae Union 09 Oct 07 Albert 37.1 1681 1433
546 + G. sarothrae Quay 21 Oct 07 Tucumcari 1.6 1244 1280
531 G. sarothrae Quay 24 Sep 07 Tucumcari 1.6 1247 1280
555 + G. sarothrae Santa Fe 28 Sep 07 Santa Fe 27.8 1859 2134
646 G. sarothrae Santa Fe 01 Oct 32 Santa Fe 2.4 2179 2134
570 + G. sarothrae Lincoln 03 Oct 07 Ft. Stanton 32.5 1966 1900
588 G. sphaerocephala Lincoln 23 Jul 73 Carrizozo 27.8 2012 1658
683 + G. sarothrae Mora 01 Aug 76 Ocate 9.3 2396 2198
954 G. sarothrae Taos 10 Aug 66 Taos 25.6 2258 2129
1071 + G. sarothrae Lincoln 03 Aug 80 Capitan 9.0 1905 1935
709 G. sarothrae Lincoln 01 Oct 71 Ft. Stanton 15.0 2128 1900
1078 + G. microcephala Lincoln 02 Oct 83 Capitan 51.0 1496 1935
805 G. sarothrae Lincoln 01 Aug 49 Capitan 11.7 2012 1935
* Specimen #565 was collected in the summer of 1936 according to the original herbarium data sheet.

The relationship between observing rust on herbarium specimens and weather data at the date of specimen collection was analyzed using logistic regression (SAS Institute, 1989). The dependent variable was the score for presence of rust (+ or −), based on paired specimens collected at the same or nearby sites in different years. The independent variables were quarterly rainfall totals and mean daily temperatures for the 12 quarters preceding the date of collection.

Because P. grindeliae is an obligate pathogen, conditions that favor the host may be expected to favor the pathogen. Heitschmidt (1979) showed the relative abundance of Gutierrezia spp. in Texas was correlated with average daily maximum temperature in April and precipitation in May for the year of collection. Therefore, logistic regression models using monthly rainfall and monthly maximum temperatures for each of the 12 months preceding the date of collection were fitted to determine whether rust observation on herbarium specimens correlated with Heitschmidt’s model for Gutierrezia occurrence.

The basic assumption in these analyses was that the probability of collecting a rusted plant was directly proportional to the number of rusted plants in the collection area. Only data from herbarium collections of Gutierrezia spp. (table 1) were used in this analysis to ensure random sampling of rust occurrence. All rusted and non-rusted herbarium specimens used in the logistic regression analysis except one (specimen 820: table 4) were collected in autumn between the months of August and October. Specimen 820 was collected in the spring (April 8, 1975).

Collections made during the 1990–1993 field survey and held in the NMSU Plant Pathology Herbarium (table 4), and specimens of P. grindeliae in the Mycology Herbarium at the University of Arizona (table 1) were excluded from the logistic regression analysis.

Table 4. Specimens cited and their origins.

ID # Herbarium Herbarium # Species Specific location
81 TAMU 39232 G. sarothrae 3 miles SW of Ruidoso Jct., Lincoln Co. NM
121 TAMU 39169 G. sarothrae 3 miles SW of Ruidoso Jct., Lincoln Co. NM
243 UTA NA G. sarothrae South of Dog Canyon, Otero Co. NM
294 UTA 147577 G. sarothrae Santa Rosa, Guadalupe Co. NM
300 UTA 233494 G. sarothrae 15 miles E of Tucumcari, Quay Co. NM
302 UTA 147558 G. sarothrae 20 miles SW of Clayton, Union Co. NM
303 UTA NA G. sarothrae 21 miles NW of Deming, Luna Co. NM
307 UTA 147715 G. sarothrae 1/2 mile E of Springer, Colfax Co. NM
518 NMSUBIO 30382 G. sarothrae White Oaks, Lincoln Co. NM
519 NMSUBIO 30384 G. microcephala Endee, Quay Co. NM
529 NMSUBIO 39007 G. sarothrae Plains near Doña Ana Mountains, Doña Ana Co. NM
531 NMSUBIO 30443 G. sarothrae Tucumcari, Quay Co. NM
546 NMSUBIO 30385a G. sarothrae Ogle, Quay Co. NM
547 NMSUBIO 30385b G. sarothrae Tucumcari, Quay Co. NM
550 NMSUBIO 39058 G. sarothrae E. of Las Vegas, San Miguel Co. NM
554 NMSUBIO 30426 G. sarothrae Beenham, Union Co. NM
557 NMSUBIO 30425 G. sarothrae Springer, Colfax Co. NM
561 NMSUBIO 30418 G. sarothrae La Lande, De Baca Co. NM
565 NMSUBIO USDA G. sarothrae Mesa E. of Albuquerque, Bernalillo Co. NM
567 NMSUBIO 30362 G. sarothrae Nara Visa, Quay Co. NM
570 NMSUBIO 30383 G. sarothrae White Oaks, Lincoln Co. NM
571 NMSUBIO 7436 G. sarothrae 9 miles NNE of Ft. Sumner T.4 N, R.26.E, sec. 3, De Baca Co. NM
587 NMSUBIO 30402 G. sphaerocephala Lake Valley, Sierra Co. NM
588 NMSUBIO 43782 G. sphaerocephala 6 miles NW of Jicarilla and 1/4 mile S. of Ancho, Lincoln Co. NM
591 NMSUBIO 30403 G. sphaerocephala Lake E. of Doña Ana Mts., Doña Ana Co. NM
594 NMSUBIO 30409 G. sphaerocephala Mesa near Las Cruces, Doña Ana Co. NM
646 UNM 1842 G. sarothrae Road side near Santa Fe, Santa Fe Co. NM
657 UNM 43424 G. sarothrae Embudo Canyon, Sandia Mt., Cibola Nat. For.
NE 1/4 S.3, T.10 N, R.4 E, Bernalillo Co. NM
670 UNM 23972 G. sarothrae 6 miles NE of Mescalero Rt. 70 in a valley, Otero Co. NM
671 UNM 51451 G. sarothrae Hwy. 70 1 mile east of Mescalero, Otero Co. NM
683 UNM 68982 G. sarothrae Les Felris canyon, N. car camp area of Lazy 3 Ranch,
7 miles W. of Ocata, Mora Co. NM
689 UNM 68982 G. sarothrae Roadside Mescalero, Otero Co. NM
698 UNM 51185 G. sarothrae Roadside Hwy. 380 4 miles E. of Carrizozo, Lincoln Co. NM
709 UNM 51195 G. sarothrae Roadside Hwy. 37 1 mile N. of Angus, Lincoln Co. NM
723 UNM 941 G. sarothrae Roadside near Domingo, Sandoval Co. NM
759 UNM 59607 G. sarothrae Les Felris canyon, N. car camp area of Lazy 3 Ranch,
7 miles W. of Ocata, Mora Co. NM
769 UNM 29223 G. sarothrae Near Stallion site on US 380, Socorro Co. NM
795 UNM 51493 G. sarothrae Roadside Hwy. 70 15 miles W. of Ruidoso, Otero Co. NM
805 UNM 10405 G. sarothrae 0.6 miles S. of Nogal, Lincoln Co. NM
820 UNM 57196 G. sarothrae Cochiti Lake at the Jct. of Blend Canyon and Rio Grande,
Sandoval Co. NM
845 UNM 67814 G. microcephala S. of Glorieta Mesa SS T.13N, R.13E, San Miguel Co. NM
883 NMSUEPWS EP0001 G. sarothrae Alter rd. off Sasabe rd., AZ Hwy. 286 W. of Tuson, Pima Co. AZ
884 NMSUEPWS EP0002 G. sarothrae Buenas Aires Ranch N. of Sasabe, AZ, Pima Co. AZ
885 NMSUEPWS EP0003 G. sarothrae Buenas Aires Ranch N. of Sasabe, AZ, Pima Co. AZ
886 NMSUEPWS EP0004 G. sarothrae Buenas Aires Ranch N. of Sasabe, AZ, Pima Co. AZ
887 NMSUEPWS EP0005 G. sarothrae Youngblood Ranch near cattle pond 1, west road, Socorro Co. NM
888 NMSUEPWS EP0006 G. sarothrae Youngblood Ranch near fence, Socorro Co. NM
889 NMSUEPWS EP0007 G. sarothrae Las Cruces Airport, Doña Ana Co. NM
890 NMSUEPWS EP0008 G. sarothrae Jornada Exp. Range South windmill, Doña Ana Co. NM
891 NMSUEPWS EP0009 G. sarothrae Jornada Exp. Range South windmill, Doña Ana Co. NM
892 NMSUEPWS EP0081 G. sarothrae Jct. 22 Santo Domingo Hwy., Sandoval Co. NM
893 NMSUEPWS EP0082 G. sarothrae Nara Visa, Quay Co. NM
897 NMSUEPWS EP0016 G. sarothrae 1/10 of a mile S. of Tucson, AZ, Pima Co. AZ.
898 NMSUEPWS EP0017 G. sarothrae N. of Lovington E of the power plant, Hidalgo Co. NM
899 NMSUEPWS EP0018 G. sarothrae Rd to Hachita, AZ mile marker 15, Pima Co. AZ
900 NMSUEPWS EP0019 G. sarothrae Youngblood Ranch, Socorro Co. NM
901 NMSUEPWS EP0020 G. sarothrae Youngblood Ranch, Socorro Co. NM
902 NMSUEPWS EP0021 G. sarothrae Rt. 380 7/10 mile E. of mile marker 180, Chavez Co. NM
903 NMSUEPWS EP0022 G. sarothrae Rt. 380 7/10 mile E. of mile marker 180, Chavez Co. NM
904 NMSUEPWS EP0023 G. sarothrae 15–16 mile NE of San Antonio @ gate of Youngblood Ranch,
Socorro Co. NM
905 NMSUEPWS EP0024 G. sarothrae Youngblood Ranch, Socorro Co. NM
906 NMSUEPWS EP0025 G. sarothrae S. of Deming 5.2 miles E. of Rockhound St. Park
access rd. S. side of rd., Luna Co. NM
907 NMSUEPWS EP0026 G. sarothrae S. of Deming 5.2 miles E. of Rockhound St. Park
access rd. S. side of rd., Luna Co. NM
908 NMSUEPWS EP0027 G. sarothrae S. of Deming 5.2 miles E. of Rockhound St. Park
ccess rd. S. side of rd., Luna Co. NM
909 NMSUEPWS EP0028 G. sarothrae S. of Deming 5.2 miles E. of Rockhound St. Park
access rd. S. side of rd., Luna Co. NM
910 NMSUEPWS EP0029 G. sarothrae NE of Deming on US 180 (15.2 miles from I-10) W. side of rd.
918 UABIO   G. sarothrae Santa Rosa, Tucumcari Hwy., Guadalupe Co. NM
926 UABIO 138281 G. sarothrae Roadside 8 miles S. of Springer, Colfax Co. NM
937 UABIO 105609 G. sarothrae Head of Dry Canyon, Otero Co. NM
949 UABIO 181084 G. sarothrae Jornada Exp. Range, 17 miles N. of Las Cruces, Doña Ana Co. NM
954 UABIO 174552 G. sarothrae Near Picurio Pueblo in valley of Rio Pueblo, Taos Co. NM
963 UABIO 102635 G. sphaerocephala Ranch 23 miles N. of Las Cruces, Doña Ana Co. NM
1069 NMSURS W#7 G. microcephala 1/4 mile E. of A Mountain in Las Cruces, Doña Ana Co. NM
1071 NMSURS LE299 G. sarothrae Fort Stanton, short duration pasture, Lincoln Co. NM
1078 NMSURS LO402 G. microcephala R 19 E, T 75, sec 29, NW1/4 of NW1/4 4.6 miles W.
Middle Arroyo Ranch Road on NM 48, Lincoln Co. NM
1093 NMSUEPWS EP0083 G. sarothrae Forest rd. 90, Lincoln Nat. Forest, W side of road about
3 1/2 miles from NM Hwy. 82, Otero Co. NM
1094 NMSUEPWS EP0084 G. sarothrae 2.8 miles from corner of 4th and Maxwell, E. of Springer
N. side Rt. 56, Colfax Co. NM
1095 NMSUEPWS EP0086 G. sarothrae Mile marker 259 N side of the Hwy. 2 miles from
Ruidoso Jct., Lincoln Co. NM
1096 NMSUEPWS EP0087 G. sarothrae Point of interest Mescalero, Otero Co. NM
Key to Herbaria
NMSUBIO: New Mexico State University—Biology Herbarium
NMSUEPWS: New Mexico State University—Plant Pathology Herbarium
NMSURS: New Mexico State University—Range Science Herbarium
TAMU: Texas A&M University—Range Science Herbarium
UABIO: University of Arizona—Biological Sciences Herbarium
UNM: University of New Mexico—Biology Herbarium
UTA: University of Texas at Austin—Botany Herbarium

Field Survey

A series of field surveys of Gutierrezia species conducted from 1990 to 1993 had two primary objectives. First, sites represented by rusted herbarium specimens that could be located accurately from annotations on the herbarium sheet were visited to determine the current status of the host and pathogen. Second, random surveys were conducted to determine, as fully as possible, the extant distribution of Puccinia grindeliae in New Mexico.

Only 13 collection sites of rusted herbarium specimens of G. sarothrae from New Mexico could be located accurately from annotations on the herbarium sheets. These were revisited in 1990–1993 (table 5). Only one non-rusted herbarium collection was located accurately and revisited (table 5). Because it is impossible to determine population densities of hosts and pathogens from herbarium specimens, this aspect of the survey was designed to gather data only on the presence or absence of the host and pathogen presently at each site.

Table 5. Herbarium specimen collection sites revisited during the field survey.

Herbarium
specimen
ID #
Revisitation
classa
Collection
date
Rust
presence
Survey
specimen
ID #
Collection
date
Rust
presence
81 I 8 Sep 07 + 1095 8 Oct 93 +
121 I 8 Sep 07 + 1095 8 Oct 93 +
302 II NA +   1 Jul 91
550 II 22 Sep 07 +   4 Jul 91
555 II 28 Sep 07 +   4 Jul 91
557 II 22 Sep 07 + 1094 29 Jul 93 +
567 II 2 Oct 07 + 889 15 Jul 91 +
689 II 2 Sep 52 + 1096 8 Oct 93 +
723 II 25 Sep 31 + 892 3 Jul 91 +
769 I 19 Sep 61 887 20 Apr 90 +
937 II 15 Aug 38 + 1093 6 Jul 93 +
1071 II 3 Aug 80 +   10 Oct 93
1078 I 2 Oct 83 +   10 Oct 93
a Revisitation class I—excellent annotation on herbariums sheet allowing location of original collection site to within 500 meters;
Revisitation class II—reasonable annotation on herbarium sheets allowing location of original collection site to within 2–3 km.

Random surveys were conducted throughout New Mexico by driving along roads in 20 of 33 counties and stopping to examine all major communities of G. sarothrae for the presence of P. grindeliae. At least 200 individual G. sarothrae communities were examined in the random survey. The survey procedure was the same for both surveys. At each site the observer walked straight toward the middle of the G. sarothrae community for 100 meters and then curved back to the road along a wide arc. Every 20 meters, the observer closely examined a small number of potentially rusted plants for 5 minutes. At each site, the observer examined no fewer than 10 plants for telia of P. grindeliae before moving on to a new site.

Preliminary identification of P. grindeliae was made in the field. Collections were transported to the laboratory in paper bags and plant presses for confirmation of both host and pathogen identities and permanent mounting.

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Results

Survey of Herbarium Specimens

Overall, 3.7% of 1,048 Gutierrezia spp. herbarium specimens were rust positive (table 1). The oldest specimen was collected in 1891 and the earliest rusted specimen was from the Jornada Experimental Range near Las Cruces, NM, in 1906 (specimen 529). The condition of these old specimens was generally very good. Of 488 specimens examined from New Mexico, 24 were rust positive: 12 between 1891 and 1910, none between 1910 and 1930, six between 1931 and 1950, one between 1951 and 1970, four between 1971 and 1990; one rust-positive collection was not dated. Based on these observations, 4.9% of herbarium specimens collected in New Mexico between 1891 and 1990 were rusted (table 6). The 24 diseased herbarium specimens collected from New Mexico were found in 14 counties ranging in elevation from 1100 m to 2500 m located east of the Rio Grande (fig. 2).

Fig. 2: Map of Arizona and New Mexico showing sites where herbarium specimens diseased with Puccinia grindeliae were collected from 1891 to 1990 (•) and sites where the field survey collection of diseased plants were made (&254;). Collection sites of non-rusted herbarium specimens (<img src=) and non-rusted field survey specimens () are also shown. The large shaded circles represent sites that were revisited in 1990-1993 (table 5)." width="500" height="292" />

Fig. 2. Map of Arizona and New Mexico showing sites where herbarium specimens diseased with Puccinia grindeliae were collected from 1891 to 1990 (●) and sites where the field survey collection of diseased plants were made (◙). Collection sites of non-rusted herbarium specimens (○) and non-rusted field survey specimens (□) are also shown. The large shaded circles represent sites that were revisited in 1990–1993 (table 5).

Of the 119 herbarium specimens from Arizona, 5 were rust positive: one between 1911 and 1930, two between 1931 and 1950, and two between 1971 and 1990. Based on these specimens, 4.2% of plants collected in Arizona from 1911 to 1990 were diseased.

Of the seven specimens of P. grindeliae held at the University of Arizona Mycology Herbarium, five were collected in Arizona, and two were collected in Colorado and Wyoming. Overall, the ten diseased specimens from Arizona were collected from seven counties spanning the state from north to south at elevations ranging from 750 m to 2100 m (fig. 2). Diseased herbarium specimens were collected from other parts of the U.S.: California (1 diseased specimen out of 45), Colorado (0/27), Nevada (1/23), Nebraska (1/1), Texas (1/235), Utah (1/39), and Wyoming (1/8) (fig. 3). Four diseased specimens were also collected from Mexico (4/27) (table 6).

Fig. 3: Plot of the probability of any herbarium specimen being diseased with Puccinia grindeliae based on the product of the precipitation (mm) of the fall quarter in which the specimen was collected and the mean daily temperature (°C) of the preceding spring quarter (right axis). Actual percent rust occurrence on herbarium specimens based on 23 paired sites (table 3) is shown as bars (left axis).

Fig. 3. Plot of the probability of any herbarium specimen being diseased with Puccinia grindeliae based on the product of the precipitation (mm) of the fall quarter in which the specimen was collected and the mean daily temperature (°C) of the preceding spring quarter (right axis). Actual percent rust occurrence on herbarium specimens based on 23 paired sites (table 3) is shown as bars (left axis).

Table 6. States in the U.S. and other countries where specimens were collected.

State Number of
herbarium
specimens
examined
Number of
herbarium
specimens
bearing telia of
P. grindeliae
Number of
field survey
specimens
examined
Number of
field survey
specimens
bearing telia of
P. grindeliae
Argentina 10 0 0 0
Canada
      Saskatchewan
3
2
0
0
0
0
0
0
Mexico 27 4 0 0
United States
      Arizona
      California
      Colorado
      Idaho
      Kansas
      Nebraska
      Nevada
      New Mexico
      North Dakota
      Oklahoma
      Oregon
      South Dakota
      Texas
      Utah
      Wyoming
1008
119
45
27
5
5
1
23
488
3
8
1
1
235
39
8
35
10a
1
1b
0
0
1
1
24
0
0
0
0
1
1
2c
35
6
0
0
0
0
0
0
29
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
20
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
20
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
a Includes five specimens of P.grindeliae from the University of Arizona Mycology Herbarium.
b This specimen of P. grindeliae was from the University of Arizona Mycology Herbarium.
c Includes one specimen of P. grindeliae from the University of Arizona Mycology Herbarium.

Analysis of Historical Weather Data

Logistic analysis of historical weather data showed the probability of collecting a diseased specimen was positively correlated

          χ2 = 4.23[p ≤ 0.03]

with the product of precipitation in the quarter of collection and mean temperature in the preceding spring quarter. The logistic regression equation for the relationship between autumn precipitation (mm) (AUPRECIP), spring temperature (°C) (SPTEMP), and probability of rust occurrence used was:

          ln(p/[1 − p]) = − 0.8706 + 0.00103 * (AUPRECIP * SPTEMP).

Solving for p in this equation, the predicted probability (p) of any herbarium specimen being diseased by P. grindeliae is:

          p = (1 + exp [0.8706 − 0.00103 * (AUPRECIP * SPTEMP)]) − 1.

The graph of the predicted probability (p) as given by this equation is shown in fig. 3. This indicates the predicted probability of a herbarium specimen being diseased with P. grindeliae is higher in years when both autumn precipitation and spring temperature are high.

Field Survey

In most cases, Gutierrezia populations were still abundant at the herbarium collection sites. A few areas have been subject to highway development and roadside burning for many years, and Gutierrezia spp. were present in low numbers. Although the herbarium survey of Gutierrezia communities in Arizona disclosed 10 rusted specimens, no rusted specimens were found during 1990–93 field surveys. Field surveys of New Mexico communities of Gutierrezia yielded 20 rusted and nine non-rusted specimens of G. sarothrae collected at elevations from 1100 m to 1800 m. These specimens were permanently mounted for the New Mexico State University Plant Pathology Herbarium and given accession numbers as shown in table 4. In 1990–1993 Puccinia grindeliae was found in only eight of the 13 sites, which were located accurately from annotations on the herbarium sheets. There was only one site where no rust was present on the herbarium specimen,but P. grindeliae was present in 1990–1993 (table 5).

Most specimens from both herbarium and survey collections were G. sarothrae. Gutierrezia microcephala was the second most abundant species collected. Nine other species were represented, with small collection numbers (table 2).

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Discussion

Puccinia grindeliae has been present on broom snakeweed in New Mexico and Arizona for at least 88 years and is still present at two sites where P. grindeliae was collected in 1906 and 1907: the Jornada Experimental Range near Las Cruces (specimen 529) and Nara Visa in northeastern New Mexico (specimen 567) (fig. 1b). The rust does not appear to have influenced the range and density of the Gutierrezia spp. populations in the southwest U.S. significantly over the past 100 years. All sites where the rust was found up to 88 years ago are still populated by Gutierrezia species, though at five sites the rust itself could not be found (table 5). Puccinia grindeliae was not found west of the Rio Grande in New Mexico prior to 1990, although it was found in eastern Arizona as early as 1905 at Pinal, in the Santa Catalina Mountains. The pathogen apparently expanded into western New Mexico recently, possibly from Arizona and Mexico due to the prevailing southwesterly winds or human activity. The general increase in the density of Gutierrezia spp. on New Mexico rangelands over the past 100 years (McDaniel et al., 1982; Nadabo et al., 1980) may also have contributed to the establishment of the rust in this area.

Results from the logistic analyses are consistent with the hypothesis that climatic factors affect both the host and pathogen in this interaction. Teliospore germination of the rust is favored by cool, moist conditions (Liddell et al., 1993) and the presence of rust on herbarium specimens was favored by wetter-than-average conditions in the fall of collection. Higher temperatures in the spring quarter also apparently favored the occurrence of rust on herbarium specimens, although the mechanisms responsible for this observation are not clear.

Heitschmidt (1979) found the growth of Gutierrezia spp. in Texas was favored by higher-than-average rainfall in May and lower-than-average daily maximum temperatures in April. Logistic regression analysis of the effect of average daily maximum temperature in April and precipitation in May during the year of collection on the number of herbarium specimens diseased with P. grindeliae showed no significant relationship to rust occurrence. Thus the monthly climatic factors that favor the growth of the host (Heitschmidt, 1979) do not correspond completely with the factors that favor the occurrence of P. grindeliae.

Although the logistic regression analysis implies no cause and effect between independent and dependent variables, the analysis can provide a valuable basis for the formulation of hypotheses. The occurrence of P. grindeliae, based on herbarium specimens, may depend on a moderate level of thermal stress to the host plant in spring, perhaps increasing susceptibility. Growth of Gutierrezia is favored by lower-than-average temperatures in spring (Heitschmidt, 1979); yet rust occurrence on herbarium specimens was correlated with higher mean spring temperatures. The positive correlation between fall precipitation and the occurrence of P. grindeliae appears to directly affect the pathogen, leading to higher levels of teliospore germination and host infection.

We realize there are significant problems in relying on data derived from herbarium specimens to conduct epidemiological and biogeographic studies as plants collected at a site are probably not random samples. Collectors generally select for the best, or representative, specimens and may have avoided diseased plants. These collections were made by hundreds of collectors over the past 100 years, and it is impossible to know exactly what factors influenced the collection of a particular specimen. Older specimens may be in poor condition, providing little helpful data. In addition, the number of positive specimens in any given collection is relatively low. Collection sites may not be chosen precisely and often are not well documented. Repeated collection at a site was rare. There are certainly changes in development and landscaping that lower the likelihood of success when attempting to revisit an established site. However, despite these limitations, herbarium specimens remain the only way to gather information of historical occurrence of many pathogens of noneconomically important plants.

Puccinia grindeliae has been established in native populations of Gutierrezia spp. in New Mexico and Arizona for many years and does not appear to have had a significant impact on those Gutierrezia populations over extended periods of time. Rather than reducing the range and density of Gutierrezia spp., P. grindeliae has spread along with G. sarothrae throughout rangelands in the Southwest over the past 100 years, as may be expected for a biotrophic pathogen at evolutionary stasis with its host. The coevolution of rust pathogens with their hosts has been well established for many systems and it appears that Puccinia grindeliae has been coevolving with Gutierrezia for a considerable time. Given that broom snakeweed is endemic to the southwestern U.S., this result indicates that the long-term effectiveness of P. grindeliae or other endemic species as biological control agents of Gutierrezia spp. in New Mexico and Arizona appears to be limited. Future work to increase the range of P. grindeliae artificially to areas where it is not now present may provide a low level of biological stress on broom snakeweed and enhance the effectiveness of other control and management methods.

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Published and electronically distributed January 1995, Las Cruces, NM.