In cases where invasive species are presumed to be strictly exotic, the discovery that the species is also native can be disconcerting for researchers and land managers responsible for eradicating an exotic invasive. Such is the case with reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea), for which decades of misinformation led to the call for nationwide control of this species in the United States. However, native populations were first reported by LaVoie and then later confirmed by Casler with molecular analyses. This, coupled with the discovery by Anderson that this species has been used in weavings by Native Americans for centuries, also made the native forms of interest for protection. Identifying the native status of historic, herbarium specimens via molecular analyses is of great interest to determine localities of native populations for confirmation with extant specimens. Genetic-based methods describing DNA polymorphism of reed canary grass are not well developed. The goal of the presented research is to assess the utility of genomic DNA obtained from historic (herbaria) and extant (fresh) tissue of reed canarygrass and the application of using Diversity Arrays Technology sequencing low density for genetic population studies.
The issue of native invasive species management rarely occurs and is fraught with biological, social, and economic challenges as well as posing difficulties in decision-making for land managers. The terminology for categorization of invasive species is examined in the context of their bias(es), which complicates control. An example of a newly determined native species, which is also invasive, is used as an example to navigate control and regulatory issues. Native, invasive reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea L.) occurs throughout Minnesota and most likely the entire midwest region of central United States and Canadian provinces. The species was previously assumed to be an exotic, nonnative Eurasian import but recent molecular evidence supports its status as a native but invasive species. We address how this change to being a native but highly invasive species modifies approaches to mitigate its potential control for state, Tribal, and local authorities. The implications of these new findings will require differential shifts in land managers’ perspectives and approaches for control. Particular differences may exist for Tribal Land Managers vs. departments of natural resources and private agencies. Additionally, regulatory challenges have yet to be decided on how to legislate control for a native invasive species that had been previously assumed as exotic or foreign in origin. These opportunities to change attitudes and implement judicial control measures will serve as a template for other invasive species that are native in origin.