Science Serving Maryland's Coasts


The Role of Genetic Diversity in Restoration Success for Vallisneria americana in the Chesapeake Bay

Principal Investigator: 

Katharina A. M. Engelhardt

Start/End Year: 

2007 to 2010


Appalachian Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

Co-Principal investigator: 

Maile C. Neel, University of Maryland, College Park


Objectives: Are objectives are to 1) quantify patterns of genetic diversity in natural, restored and cultured populations of Vallisneria americana 2) quantify relationships between genetic diversity, ecological characteristics, and restoration success; and 3) culture different genotypes and population sources in support of conducting greenhouse experiments. This crosscutting interdisciplinary research specifically responds to several research areas outlined in the Maryland Sea Grant solicitation for research in the Chesapeake Bay. Methodology: We will use a combination of standard genetic techniques to characterize genetic diversity of 6 natural, 6 restored, and 6 cultured populations of Vallisneria americana present in the Chesapeake Bay. The research is novel in linking three types of genetic diversity with ecological functioning and restoration success. The ecological portion of the work will be conducted in greenhouse mesocosms by propagating distinct genotypes of V. americana and planting populations of different genetic diversities in greenhouse mesocosms. Rationale: The research investigates the influence of genetic diversity on ecosystem functioning and restoration success for the submersed aquatic plant species Vallisneria americana. It also provides information on how genetic approaches can improve restoration and conservation.

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