A unique assemblage of managers, agency personnel, representatives of environmental organizations, environmental consultants and world-class research scientists gathered for two full days to learn about and discuss the “end game” of invasive cordgrass eradication at the Hybrid Spartina Forum. Held March 10-11, 2011, at Oakland’s Preservation Park, the forum drew 85 participants, all of whom hold a stake in deciding the fate of hybrid Spartina in the San Francisco Estuary.
The Invasive Spartina Project's GIS manager, Ingrid Hogle, summarized the main events of the forum in this article.
Valerie Hipkins, USDA National Forest Genetics Lab
"Genetic Identification of Plant Hybrids"
The unique challenges of conducting management-based genetic work.
(Video, 37 minutes)
Erik Grijalva and Ingrid Hogle, Invasive Spartina Project
"Successes and Evolution of Spartina Control in San Francisco
(Video, 57 minutes)
Dan Simberloff, University of Tennessee
"Hybridization of introduced species with natives: Impacts and
Examples of other invasive, hybrid species - there has been no success story to date that has had to deal with the issue of hybridization.
(Video, 52 minutes)
Marc Holmes, San Francisco Bay Joint Venture
"The History of Tidal Marsh Restoration in San Francisco Bay"
The history of tidal marsh restoration in the San Francisco Bay, putting into perspective the impressive size and extent of current restoration projects underway in the Bay Area and emphasizing how each project builds on the successes of previous ones.
(Video, 32 minutes)
John Bourgeois, South Bay Salt Pond Restoration
"The South Bay Salt Ponds - the Largest Tidal Wetland Restoration on the West Coast"
Overview of the planning process and current activities of this large and ambitious restoration project. (Both the ISP and the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration are projects managed by the State Coastal Conservancy.) Bourgeois discussed conversations that have taken place between his project and the ISP regarding best practices to use when moving forward with restoration, given that invasion by hybrid Spartina threatens the success of restoration, and creation of new habitat for invasion threatens to delay the success of invasive Spartina eradication.
(Video, 27 minutes)
Tom Witham, Northern Arizona University
"The role of plant hybrids in evolution and impacts on
communities and ecosystems"
His work on hybrid
cottonwoods, eucalyptus, and other species indicates that minor variation in genotypes within a species can impact the accumulation of heritable traits.
Changes to the genetic structure of a species within a site can change the community of other plants and animals supported by that species, and may ultimately
affect the evolution of the entire community.
(Video, 51 minutes)
Malika Ainouche, University of Rennes, France
"Genome evolution of hybrid and polyploid Spartina"
The complexities of Spartina evolution, including the very small degree of genetic divergence between S. foliosa and S. alterniflora; discussion of work done in her lab on similarly closely related hybrids of different Spartina species.
(Video not available)
Joy Zedler, University of Wisconsin
"Perspectives on clonal graminoid hybrids in wetlands"
The ecology of native Spartina foliosa, especially as it grows in southern California, where it appears to have great phenotypic plasticity in response to wet
or dry years, and where she has found a long period of low salinity a requirement for its establishment in restored marshes.
(Video, 49 minutes)
Diane Elam, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
"Hybrid case studies in listing decisions and recovery planning"
Case studies involving endangered species and hybridity. Elam presented examples illustrating case-by-case listing, delisting, and recovery action decisions for each species based on scientific evidence, current botanical standards and species definitions; and emphasized that the Service plans to continue applying case-specific criteria to all listing decisions and recovery planning efforts involving hybridizations.
(Video not available)