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Hybridization between Introduced Smooth Cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora; Poaceae) and Native California Cordgrass (S. foliosa) in San Francisco Bay, California, USA
Curtis C. Daehler and Donald R. Strong
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 84, No. 5 (May, 1997), pp. 607-611
Published by: Botanical Society of America, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2445896
Page Count: 5
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Introduced Spartina alterniflora (smooth cordgrass) is rapidly invading intertidal mudflats in San Francisco Bay, California. At several sites, S. alterniflora co-occurs with native S. foliosa (California cordgrass), a species endemic to California salt marshes. In this study, random amplified polymorphic DNA markers (RAPDs) specific to each Spartina species were identified and used to test for hybridization between the native and introduced Spartina species in the greenhouse and in the field. Greenhouse crosses were made using S. alterniflora as the pollen donor and S. foliosa as the maternal plant, and these crosses produced viable seeds. The hybrid status of the crossed offspring was confirmed with the RAPD markers. Hybrids had low self-fertility but high fertility when back-crossed with S. foliosa pollen. Hybrids were also found established at two field sites in San Francisco Bay; these hybrids appeared vigorous and morphologically intermediate between the parental species. Field observations suggested that hybrids were recruiting more rapidly than the native S. foliosa. Previous work identified competition from introduced S. alterniflora as a threat to native S. foliosa. In this study, we identify introgression and the spread of hybrids as an additional, perhaps even more serious threat to conservation of S. foliosa in San Francisco Bay.
American Journal of Botany © 1997 Botanical Society of America, Inc.