Rosenzweig, Eric B. , Smith, Stephanie M. , Bologna, Paul A.X. , Smalley, John V. , Campanella, James J. .
A phylogenetic study of Zostera marina (eelgrass) ecotypes of the Atlantic Coast of North America.
Zostera marina (eelgrass) provides a critical habitat of North American Atlantic coastal communities from Canada to North Carolina. Zostera functions as part of the food web for many species, but it also reduces coastal sediment loss and water flow, and fixes organic carbon. In addition, the health of this species has long been considered a reflection of ecosystem vigor and water quality. Over the last 25 years, the eelgrass populations worldwide have declined as a result of coastal human population pressures. These anthropogenic pressures include: physical disturbance, waste runoff, alien species transfer, commercial fishing, and diseases. In order to address these concerns, our research has focused on the phylogenetics of the Zostera ecotypes along the Atlantic coast of North America. 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 phylogenetic variation among representative clades of Zostera has impacted its survival in Chesapeake Bay, Barnegat Bay, Bogue Sound, Long Island Sound, and a variety of other environments along the east coast. Although we are still in the process of analyzing these populations, preliminary data suggests an anomalous genetic relationship between the Southern Maine and Chesapeake Bay Populations of Zostera, suggesting a much closer genetic relationship than might be expected.
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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