Date of Award

1-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

College/School

College of Science and Mathematics

Department/Program

Biology

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Meiyin S. Wu

Committee Member

Paul Bologna

Committee Member

Haiyan Su

Subject(s)

Phragmites australis--Delaware Bay (Del. and N.J.), Herbicides--Physiological effect

Abstract

Management of Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ex Steud., or common reed, an invasive species within the Delaware Bay, U.S. has been ongoing since 1994 as part of the Estuary Enhancement Program (EEP) for Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG). Phragmites is known to alter the habitat by creating a monoculture, increasing sediment trapping, and decreasing water circulation resulting in decreased biodiversity. Herbicide treatment at EEP Phragmites-dominated sites began as a means to mitigate for loss of nekton species resulting from operations of the Hope Creek-Salem Generating Station once-through cooling system. Using ArcGIS, effectiveness of herbicide treatment was compared at two of EEP’s Phragmites-dominated sites in the Delaware Bay. The goal of this research was to assess effectiveness of aerial application of glyphosate-based herbicide by comparative analysis of mapped vegetation communities. Inundation frequency was incorporated into the analysis to assess if location on the marsh plain has an effect on treatment effectiveness. The results of this research demonstrated that vegetation cover changed significantly as a result of the herbicide treatment with more desirable {Spartina spp., etc.) and less undesirable (Phragmites australis) plants. Areas that did not receive any treatment, tended to produce an undesirable outcome (more Phragmites). No significant difference was observed among treatments of one, two or three applications during the study period. Unvegetated areas did not significantly differ throughout the various treatments over the study period. The results suggest that inundation did not significantly influence effectiveness of treatment. Any frequency of herbicide treatment used for restoration in a salt marsh will reduce Phragmites cover; however, depending on restoration goals and timeline the use of additional applications should be considered.

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