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McNair Scholars Program

Cheryl (McCabria) Balaun


Education: Bachelor's degree (1998)

McNair Project: Plant Biomass Differences of Drought-Stressed Andropogon gerardii and Bouteloua gracilis (1996)

Mentor: Loretta Johnson, Ph.D.

Grass species Andropogon gerardii and Bouteloua gracilis were exposed to three successive 3-week drought periods. Biomass differences in roots and shoots were measured at the end of each drought period. After the first drought period, A. Gerardii and B. Gracilis showed no significant difference in root weights. By the end of the second drought period, B. gracilis plants produced slightly more root biomass (22%) than shoot biomass (18%). A. gerardii plants experienced a 54% decrease in root biomass and a 66% decrease in shoot biomass at the end of the second drought. B. gracilis and A. gerardii experienced a similar decrease in root and shoot growth by the end of the third drought period. B. gracilis had a 79% decrease in both root and shoot growth, and A. gerardii experienced a 68% decrease in root growth and a 76% decrease in shoot growth.