Date Approved

2014

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biology

Committee Member

Kristin Judd

Committee Member

Daniel Clemans

Committee Member

Steven Francoeur

Abstract

Wetlands support great species diversity and perform important ecosystem services like carbon and nutrient cycling, largely facilitated by microorganisms. Invasive plants, like Phragmites australis, reduce biodiversity and alter ecosystem services. I hypothesized that changes in soil bacterial communities would occur after Phragmites invasion and restoration efforts employing herbicide to remove Phragmites would further disrupt communities. This was tested in freshwater wetlands using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis of PCR amplified eubacterial DNA from soils dominated by Typha and Phragmites vegetation preceding and following herbicide application. Soil bacterial communities differed by vegetation type and indicated both seasonal and inter-annual effects. Bacterial diversity was greater in Typha soils that had more plant diversity (p < 0.05). Bacterial communities after herbicide application exhibited minor changes short-term (days), while geographic location conferred greater differences. These results suggest vegetation and soil conditions strongly influence bacterial communities while herbicide application has only weak impacts.

Included in

Biology Commons

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