Smith, Stephanie M. , Rosenzweig, Eric B. , Bologna, Paul A.X. , Smalley, John V. , Campanella, James J. .
A population genetic study of the Zostera marina (eelgrass) ecotypes of Barnegat Bay, New Jersey and implications for grass bed restoration.
Eelgrass (Zostera Marina) is a vital member of coastal communities spanning regions from the tropics to the sub arctic. It serves as a habitat and food source for many organisms, absorbs wave energy, and its rhizomes stabilize sediment. Additionally, Zostera acts as an indicator of long term water quality and a measure of ecosystem health. Over the last 25 years, the eelgrass population in Barnegat Bay, New Jersey has declined by 62%, despite restoration programs. In order to address these concerns, our research has focused on the phylogenetics of the Zostera populations in New Jersey coastal waters. We have employed polymorphic microsatellite DNA markers to study the genetic relationships between eelgrass populations and the ecological fitness of each ecotype in its environment. Our overall goal is to investigate how the genetic variation among representative clades of Zostera in New Jersey may impact restoration success. Preliminary genetic studies indicate that Sedge Island sea grasses (geographically most southerly) may possess the greatest genetic distance from the more northerly groups. Light stressed Marsh Elder, Ham, and Shelter Island populations cluster as a clade, suggesting a common genetic link among them, while the sunlit Barnegat Bay Inlet population is found on a separate phylogenetic branch, distanced from the light stressed clades. Future studies will include additional NJ populations and geographic out groups from Alaska, Long Island, and Chesapeake Bay.
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1 - Montclair State University, Biology and Molecular Biology, 1 Normal Avenue, Montclair, New Jersey, 07043, USA
2 - Bergen Community College, Department of Science and Technology, 400 Paramus Road, Paramus, New Jersey, 07652, USA
Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Topics
Location: Exhibit Hall (Northeast, Southwest & Southeast)/Hilton
Date: Sunday, July 8th, 2007
Time: 8:00 AM