Genetic Variation in Phragmites Australis

EPA Grant Number: U915648
Title: Genetic Variation in Phragmites Australis
Investigators: Saltonstall, Kristin
Institution: Yale University
EPA Project Officer: Michaud, Jayne
Project Period: June 1, 1999 through June 1, 2002
Project Amount: $80,844
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1999) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Fellowship - Life Sciences , Academic Fellowships , Biology/Life Sciences


This research project examines the question of whether a non-native strain of Phragmites australis might have been introduced to North America, thus contributing to its spread. The objectives of this research project are to examine the following questions: (1) What is the distribution of extant populations of P. australis across North America and how are they related? (2) How are historic and present-day populations of P. australis throughout North America related? and (3) How are Phragmites populations from different parts of the world related?


Recent developments in molecular techniques allow the comparison of large numbers of samples collected throughout the range of P. australis. Samples from extant populations will be collected worldwide with a focus on North America and Europe. Data on habitat type, clone age, and other site-specific information also will be collected and will be correlated with genetic data. Historical specimens from herbaria (e.g., 100+ years old) and preserved rhizomes (500+ years old) obtained from marsh cores will be used for comparison with modern samples to detect if a change in the genetic structure of the North American population has occurred. Noncoding regions of the chloroplast genome will be sequenced, and microsatellite markers will be identified to examine variability in the species. Phylogenetic relationships between populations will be inferred using both maximum likelihood and maximum parsimony techniques. Data will be analyzed geographically, and discrepancies between geographical and phylogenetic relatedness will be explored further.

Expected Results:

This research will attempt to describe the genetic makeup of Phragmites populations in North America, whereas recent studies have had limited sample sizes and have been restricted to a local or regional focus.

Supplemental Keywords:

genetic polymorphisms, conservation, ecology, genetics, Phragmites, Phragmites australis., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecology, exploratory research environmental biology, Genetics, Ecosystem/Assessment/Indicators, Ecosystem Protection, Forestry, Monitoring/Modeling, Ecological Effects - Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecological Indicators, molecular genetics, molecular ecology, bioassessment, biodiversity, ecosystem assessment, molecular characterization, phylogenetics, genetic consequences, genetic testing, adaptive management, ecological assessment, ecological impacts, DNA, invasive species, genetic differentiation, hybridization

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1999
  • 2000
  • Final