Original Paper


, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 67-74

First online:

Extent and Reproductive Mechanisms of Phragmites australis Spread in Brackish Wetlands in Chesapeake Bay, Maryland (USA)

  • Melissa K. McCormickAffiliated withSmithsonian Environmental Research Center Email author 
  • , Karin M. KettenringAffiliated withSmithsonian Environmental Research CenterEcology Center and Department of Watershed Sciences, Utah State University
  • , Heather M. BaronAffiliated withSmithsonian Environmental Research CenterCollege of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University
  • , Dennis F. WhighamAffiliated withSmithsonian Environmental Research Center

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The number of patches of non-native Phragmites australis in brackish tidal wetlands in the Rhode River subestuary increased from 5 in 1971–72 to 212 in 2007, and the area covered by the patches increased more than 25 times during the same time interval. Genetic analysis of the patches showed that the expansion has primarily been from seed, and genetic similarities between patches indicate that most cross-pollination occurs within a distance of 50 m. Comparison of patches in different parts of the subestuary indicate that the expansion of Phragmites australis has occurred at the scale of the entire subestuary and not the scale of subsections of the subestuary dominated by differing upland land-uses.


Clonal propagation Genetic diversity Invasive species Non-native genotype Rhode River Seeds