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Abstract Detail


Whitehurst, Lauren [1], Cunard, Chelsea [2], Reed, Jennifer [3], Worthy, Samantha [4], Marsico, Travis [5], Lucardi, Rima [6], Burgess, Kevin [7].

Evaluating the efficacy of DNA barcoding for the detection of non-native invasive plant propagules at the Port of Savannah, Georgia.

Over 90% of global trade occurs between seaports, which may also serve as points-of-entry for non-native invasive species. As such, there is an imperative need to rapidly identify non-native invasive propagules, where standard morphological techniques alone can be time-consuming and laborious. This research evaluates the utility of widely accepted plant DNA barcodes for the identification of seeds (propagules) intercepted from shipping containers at the Port of Savannah, Georgia, USA. We ask four questions: 1) Can DNA barcoding be used to detect plant propagules (seeds) collected from shipping containers at the port? 2) What is the genetic composition of propagules entering the port? 3) How do morphological identifications compare to those based on genetic analysis? 4) Are non-native invasive plant species present on shipping containers entering the Port of Savannah? This research collected 5,582 fruit/seed propagules from 331 refrigerated shipping containers over two sampling seasons (2015-2017). A subset of seeds was morphologically sorted into “Seed Types”. Resulting seedling leaf-tissues were then sequenced for two chloroplast gene regions, rbcL and matK. Our results indicated successful identification of seeds from these two DNA barcode regions. In some cases, genetic identifications were more accurate compared to classic morphological ones. BLASTn analyses confirmed the identity of 22 non-native invasive plant species and one Federal Noxious Weed. This work provides future recommendations for the possible implementation of DNA barcoding toward the applied need of improving exotic species interceptions at seaports and increasing the USA’s import bio/agrosecurity.

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1 - University of Florida, Department of Biology, Bartram-Carr Hall, P.O. Box 118525, Gainesville, FL, 32611, United States
2 - Arkansas State University, Biological Sciences, PO Box 599, State University, AR, 72467, USA
3 - Arkansas State Unviersity, Department of Biological Sciences, P.O. Box 599, State University, AR, 72467
4 - University of Maryland, Biology, 1210 Biology Psychology Bldg., 4094 Campus Dr., University of Maryland, College Park, MD, 20742, USA
5 - Arkansas State University, Department of Biological Sciences, PO Box 599, State University, AR, 72467, United States
6 - USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, 320 Green Street, Athens, GA, 30602, USA
7 - Columbus State University, Biology, 4225 University Ave., Columbus, GA, 31907, United States

DNA Barcoding

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: ECO2, Ecology 2: Invasive Plant Species
Location: Tucson A/Starr Pass
Date: Tuesday, July 30th, 2019
Time: 11:30 AM
Number: ECO2013
Abstract ID:736
Candidate for Awards:None

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