Dr. Magdalene Ngeve and Postdoc Mentor (Dr. Maile Neel), as well as other fellow UMD and UMCES researchers, published a study in Ecology and Evolution. They examined how tropical storms Irene and Lee affected the genetic diversity of aquatic plants in the lower Hudson River Estuary. Researchers collected samples of Vallisneria americana Michx. (Hydrocharitaceae) before and after the storms. Checking DNA markers, they were surprised to find the plants as a whole were able to sustain genetic diversity. However, they celebrate these findings with caution. These plant populations were already small and reproduced mainly asexually relying on making exact copies of themselves, which doesn't add to genetic diversity. If more severe storms and human disturbances continue along the Hudson, these plants might struggle to recover. For a more complete understanding of long-term resilience, the authors would like to see more ongoing monitoring of genetic diversity and population size.
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