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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: REDUCING THE IMPACT OF INVASIVE WEEDS IN NORTHERN GREAT PLAINS RANGELANDS THROUGH BIOLOGICAL CONTROL AND COMMUNITY RESTORATION

Location: Pest Management Research Unit

Title: The genetics of Tamarix

Author
item Gaskin, John

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: June 1, 2012
Publication Date: April 1, 2013
Citation: Gaskin, J.F. 2013. The genetics of Tamarix. In: Sher, A. and Quigley, M.F. A Case Study of Ecological Change in the American West: Tamarix. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. p. 21-28.

Interpretive Summary: Saltcedar, or Tamarix, is one of the worst invasive plant genera in the USA. Here we discuss the importance of genetic studies of Tamarix to help us in understanding species identities involved in the invasion, their evolutionary relationships, and the contribution of hybridization to the invasion. This information can be used to enhance the efficacy of biological control. The studies have also helped us understand how the invasion became successful, how far it might spread, and how quickly it might adapt to a changing climate.

Technical Abstract: Genetic studies have helped us gain basic knowledge of the Tamarix invasion. We now have a better understanding of the species identities involved in the invasion, their evolutionary relationships, and the contribution of hybridization to the invasion. This information can be used to enhance the efficacy of biological control, which relies on close pairwise co-evolutionary relationships of the target weed and the specialist biological control agent. We also have a better understanding of the relationship between horticultural and invasive Tamarix, which can help advise noxious weed policies. Genetic studies on Tamarix invasions potential to tolerate different latitudes in the USA helps us understand how the invasion became successful, how far it might spread, and how quickly it might adapt to a changing climate. Without this basic knowledge, invasion management programs, especially biological control, may suffer lower efficacy when trying to reduce the ecological and economic effects of this infamous invasive plant.

Last Modified: 8/22/2014