Invasion dynamics and genotypic diversity of cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica) at the point of introduction in the Southeastern United States.
Nine sites of cogongrass were included in a study of genotypic diversity and spread dynamics at the point of introduction and its adjacent areas in the southern United States. Clones evaluated with two primer pairs yielded a total of 137 amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) loci of which 102 (74.4%) were polymorphic. Genetic diversity was measured as the percentage of polymorphic, Shannon's information index, Nei's gene diversity, and panmictic heterozygosity. Nei's gene diversity (HS) across all nine sites was estimated to be 0.11 and within site gene diversity ranged from 0.06 to 0.16. Bayesian estimate of gene diversity and Shannon's information index were higher (0.17 and 0.17, respectively). The samples from the point of introduction (Pi) had the lowest genetic diversity for all types of estimates. Within site variance accounted for 56% of the total variation and among site variance 44% (P<0.05). Differentiation among sites was assessed using FST. The greatest difference was found between the Pi and the others. No relationship was found between genetic and geographic distances. Principal component analysis as well as cluster analysis separated individuals into three main clusters. The Pi formed a separate subcluster. Gene flow (Nm), inferred from Φ-statistics describing the genetic differentiation between pairs of sites ranged from 0.6 to 5.55. The lack of significant relationship between gene flow and geographic distance as well as genetic and geographic distances suggests that the invasion dynamics of cogongrass into the southern United States is primarily through anthropogenic activities and to the lesser extent through natural forces.