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Open AccessArticle

Patterns of Genetic Diversity in Highly Invasive Species: Cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica) Expansion in the Invaded Range of the Southern United States (US)

1
USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, Forestry Sciences Laboratory, 320 East Green Street, Athens, GA 30602, USA
2
Department of Biological Sciences, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA 23529, USA
3
Department of Biological Sciences, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Plants 2020, 9(4), 423; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9040423
Received: 11 March 2020 / Revised: 23 March 2020 / Accepted: 25 March 2020 / Published: 31 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Biodiversity and Genetic Resources)
The spatial expansions of invasive organisms in the novel range are generally expected to follow an isolation-by-distance relationship (IBD) if the invasion is biologically driven; however, many invasions are facilitated anthropogenically. This research focused on the extant expansion patterns of cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica). Cogongrass is a widespread invasive species throughout the southern United States (US). Patterns of infestation vary among US states. Cogongrass is pyrogenic, and its invasion threatens softwood (Pinus spp.) plantations, a substantial economic market for this US region. Over 600 individuals were sampled from seven invaded US states, using amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLPs) to assess genetic diversity and population structure. We suspected that differences in historical management efforts among US states influenced differences in genetic diversity and structure. We detected two genetic lineages at the highest level of analysis. One genetic lineage was locally restricted, whereas the other was found throughout the study region. Admixed individuals were found in all US states and consistently co-occurred with the dominant lineage, suggesting that secondary contact and hybridization may have facilitated expansion. The widespread prevalence of only one of the two detected genetic lineages suggests a primary genetic lineage responsible for on-going population expansion in the US. View Full-Text
Keywords: AFLP; genetic diversity; invasive; Poaceae; population genetics; range expansion AFLP; genetic diversity; invasive; Poaceae; population genetics; range expansion
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Lucardi, R.D.; Wallace, L.E.; Ervin, G.N. Patterns of Genetic Diversity in Highly Invasive Species: Cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica) Expansion in the Invaded Range of the Southern United States (US). Plants 2020, 9, 423.

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