Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2011UT156B

Analyzing the Spread of Phragmites Australis Over Short Time Scales Using Spatial and Genetic Tools

Institute: Utah
Year Established: 2011 Start Date: 2011-03-01 End Date: 2012-02-29
Total Federal Funds: $33,634 Total Non-Federal Funds: $97,500

Principal Investigators: Karin Kettenring, Shannon Clemens, Austin Jensen, Mac McKee, David Rosenberg

Abstract: The expansion of invasive species in wetlands of North America presents a potentially serious threat to the long-term health of these important ecosystems. The experience of wild lands managers indicates that the control of the spread of some of these species is extremely difficult, even in managed wetlands. A major reason for this difficulty is the lack of understanding of the mechanisms and rates of spread that are exhibited by some of these species. Acquiring data that will shed light on these unknowns is made difficult because of the large areas over which the invasion takes place and the high cost of acquiring data that describes the locations and rates of spread. This project will utilize genetic tools, aerial imagery acquired by the use of ultra-light unmanned aerial vehicles, and advanced pattern recognition techniques to map the spread of Phragmites australis, a major invasive species in Utah’s wetlands, over a one-year period. This will be done on a large scale using the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in northern Utah as the study site.