Characterizing the genetic diversity of invasive ferns in the northern Gulf Coast region

In southern Louisiana and the adjacent Gulf Coast region, invasive aquatic ferns of the genus Salvinia pose major ecological and economic threats by outcompeting native plants, killing fish, and clogging waterways. Although assumed to be polyploid and hybrid species, almost nothing is known about the evolutionary origins and population-level genetic diversity of S. molesta and S. minima. In an attempt to characterize the role of genetic variation in their invasiveness, the Sigel Lab is initiating new projects utilizing the recently published Salvinia genome to resolve the evolutionary history of Salvinia, quantify their population-level genetic variation, and study how different genotypes grow in varying environmental conditions.

    
 
       
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	mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}    Salvinia molesta  a. Infestation on Lake Bistineau (image: LSU AgCenter). b. clonal ramete (image: commons.wikimedia.org ) c. characteristic egg-beater hairs on the leaf surface (image: plants.usda.gov). d. Distribution and abundance based on the USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database (nas.er.usgs.gov). Circle size and color indicates abundance based on number of occurance records. Red asterisks indicate populations to be sampled.  

Salvinia molesta a. Infestation on Lake Bistineau (image: LSU AgCenter). b. clonal ramete (image: commons.wikimedia.org ) c. characteristic egg-beater hairs on the leaf surface (image: plants.usda.gov). d. Distribution and abundance based on the USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database (nas.er.usgs.gov). Circle size and color indicates abundance based on number of occurance records. Red asterisks indicate populations to be sampled.