Genevieve Romanello

M.S. Candidate, Pennsylvania State University

Field Travel Grant Type 1

Microstegium vimineum Invasion in Central Pennsylvanian Slope, Seep Wetlands: Seed Bank Investigation, Site Analysis and Water as a Vector for Dispersal

“The invasive species, Microstegium vimineum, also known as Japanese stilt grass, is a C4, annual grass distributed throughout the Southeast, most of the Northeast, and a few Midwestern states. M. vimineum has the ability to form monospecific stands along a soil moisture and light continuum. Its seed are known to travel through wetlands via water and growth is already evident in a variety of freshwater wetland types. Due to the nature of this species, the goal of this research is to provide critical background documentation of the early states of M. vimineum existence in slope, seep wetlands of central Pennsylvania so that further spread can be prevented.

The proposed project will address the following questions in three parts: Part A.) Is M. vimineum seed the dominant seed present where M. vimineum is present aboveground? Is M. vimineum seed absent from sites where M. vimineum is not found aboveground? Part B.) What are the site characteristics that define seep wetlands from both locales with and without M. vimineum? Part C.) Is storm water run-off from Interstate 99 dispersing M. vimineum seed into the immediate surrounding forest?”