, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 67–74 | Cite as

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

  • Melissa K. McCormick
  • Karin M. Kettenring
  • Heather M. Baron
  • Dennis F. Whigham
Original Paper


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 



This research was supported through a subcontract with Pennsylvania State University on an EPA STAR grant (692105), Denice Wardrop, Principal Investigator, a Smithsonian Postdoctoral Fellowship to KMK, and a Smithsonian Work-learn internship to HMB. Mark Brinson and two anonymous reviewers provided valuable comments on earlier drafts of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Society of Wetland Scientists 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melissa K. McCormick
    • 1
  • Karin M. Kettenring
    • 1
    • 2
  • Heather M. Baron
    • 1
    • 3
  • Dennis F. Whigham
    • 1
  1. 1.Smithsonian Environmental Research CenterEdgewaterUSA
  2. 2.Ecology Center and Department of Watershed SciencesUtah State UniversityLoganUSA
  3. 3.College of Oceanic and Atmospheric SciencesOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA

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