Global invasive species database

  • General
  • Distribution
  • Impact
  • Management
  • Bibliography
  • Contact
prev
  • Spartina alterniflora (Photo: �John M Randall/The Nature Conservancy
  • Spartina alterniflora (Photo: �John M Randall/The Nature Conservancy
  • Spartina alterniflora infestation (Photo: John M. Randall, The Nature Conservancy, Bugwood.org)
next
Common name
Atlantic cordgrass (English), salt-water cordgrass (English), saltmarsh cordgrass (English), smooth cordgrass (English)
Synonym
Spartina alterniflora , var. glabra (Muhl. ex Bigelow) Fern.
Spartina alterniflora , var. pilosa (Merr.) Fern.
Similar species
Spartina foliosa, Schoenoplectus maritimus, Triglochin maritima
Summary
Spartina alterniflora commonly known as smooth cord grass is a species that inhabits marsh habitat in its native range, where introduced It is known to establish itself in wave-protected mud and sand flats and grow very quickly into dense impenetrable stands. When introduced this species can have a negative effect on native species including some endangered. It can also hybridize with native non-invasive species of Spartina and offspring are known to have increased vigor and growth rates than either parent.
Species Description
S. alterniflora is an erect, perennial salt tolerant grass that characteristically grows in dense stands. The inflorescence is a flowering panicle made of many spikes and it is 10-40cm long with dense colourless flowers, which are closely appressed and overlapping. S. alterniflora blooms from July through November (The Invasive Spartina Project, 2003). Leaf blades which are grey-green in colour can be 20-55cm long and and be up to 5cm in width. The stems range in height from 60-250cm and are upto 2cm wide at the base (Brian Silliman., pers. comm., 2005) .
Uses
S. alterniflora is a dominant species in its native range, the salt marshes of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the USA. It plays an important role in sediment stabilization and serves as nursery grounds for estuarine fish and invertebrates. Marsh grasses like S. alterniflora are essential for land creation processes in areas such as the Chesapeake Bay (Taylor et al. 2001).S. alterniflora serves as a foundation species and is a critical carbon base for estuarine food-webs supplying carbon for the detrital and direct grazing food-web energy pathways (Brian Silliman., pers.comm., 2005).
Habitat Description
S. alterniflora grows within lower elevational marsh zones in its native range. In the San Francisco Bay area where it is introduced S. alterniflora and its hybrids have been observed growing both lower and higher than the native S. foliosa. The tidal range for S. alterniflora varies throughout the world, but it has the potential to grow from the mean higher high water to approximately 1 metre from mean low lower water (The Invasive Spartina Project, 2003).

The Western Aquatic Plant Management Society (2004) states that, \"S. alterniflora is a plant of the intertidal zone, where it colonizes mud or sandflats in saline or brackish water. Found in areas of low to moderate wave energy, the species can colonize a broad range of substrates, ranging from sand and silt to loose cobble, clay, and gravel. The species can tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions, including: inundation up to 12 hours a day, pH levels from 4.5 to 8.5, and salinity from 10 to 60 ppt\".
Spartina can grow in terrestrial areas, but is excluded by competition from other plants. It can grow in the highest reached of the intertidal zone all the way down until ~ 1m from mean low water (Brian Silliman., pers. comm., 2005).

Reproduction
The Western Aquatic Plant Management Society (2004) reports that, \"Spartina alterniflora can spread by seed, rhizome, or vegetative fragmentation (Daehler and Strong 1994). However, the plant does not produce seed in several areas where it has been introduced. No flowers have been observed in New Zealand or in Padilla Bay, and the Willapa Bay population was not observed to flower for almost 50 years after its introduction (Partridge 1987; Kunz and Martz 1993; Riggs 1992; Scheffer 1945). Low soil temperature can delay or suppress flowering and reduce seed production in Spartina spp. The species is protogynous, meaning that female flowers mature before male flowers (Bertness and Shumway 1992). This strategy helps ensure out-crossing\".
Pathway
S. alterniflora was introduced to Puget Sound, in the 1940s to stabilize shorelines and increase vegetative cover (Western Aquatic Plant Management Society, 2004).S. alterniflora was introduced into San Francisco Bay for salt marsh restoration in the 1970s (Ayres et al. 2003).S. alterniflora was deliberately introduced to New Zealand in the 1950's from the USA primarily for land reclamation purposes and alleged habitat enhancement (Champion and Clayton, 2004).S. alterniflora was apparently first introduced into Willapa Bay in 1894 in a shipment of eastern oyster spat originating from the east coast of North America. Initially, the species established on the west side of Long Island (Sayce 1988) (Western Aquatic Plant Management Society, 2004).

Principal source: Invasive Spartina Project, 2003. Introduced Spartina alterniflora/hybrids (smooth cordgrass)
Western Aquatic Plant Management Society, 2004. Spartina alterniflora

Compiler: National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) & IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)

Review: Brian Silliman The Nature Conservancy David H. Smith Postdoctoral Fellow Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences College of William and Mary

Publication date: 2005-11-16

Recommended citation: Global Invasive Species Database (2016) Species profile: Spartina alterniflora. Downloaded from http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/species.php?sc=792 on 29-09-2016.

General Impacts
The Invasive Spartina Project (2003) list down the impacts of the introduced Spartina alterniflora in the San Francisco Bay Area:
S. alterniflora can invade mudflats and channels and convert this habitat to marshland. Loss of mudflat and channel habitat may seriously impact the foraging habitat for numerous residential as well as migrating shorebirds and waterfowl, including the federally and state endangered California clapper rail (see Rallus longirostris obsoletus in Status: U.S Fish and Wildlife Service). S. alterniflora is also invading high marsh habitat, degrading or eliminating pickleweed (Salicornia virginica) habitat, impacting habitat for the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse (see Reithrodontomys raviventris in IUCN Red List of Threatened Species)
S. alterniflora hybridizes with the native Spartina spp. S. alterniflora is therefore a threat to the survival of native Spartina spp. Given the robust form and reproductive vigor of both the introduced S. alterniflora and their hybrids. Hybrids have variable morphology and may be more vigorous than S. alterniflora. Hybrids are difficult to distinguish from either parent species in the field. Molecular lab tests are required to confirm S. alterniflora or hybrid identification
S. alterniflora can cause increased rates of sedimentation, leading to the eventual clogging of flood control channels and natural sloughs, raising them to the overall elevation of the marsh plain.
Management Info
For details on preventative, physical, chemical and biological control of this species please read our pdf file on management information.
Countries (or multi-country features) with distribution records for Spartina alterniflora
NATIVE RANGE
  • argentina
  • brazil
  • canada
  • french guiana
  • georgia
  • guadeloupe
  • guyana
  • suriname
  • trinidad and tobago
  • united states
  • uruguay
Informations on Spartina alterniflora has been recorded for the following locations. Click on the name for additional informations.
Lorem Ipsum
Location Status Invasiveness Occurrence Source
Details of Spartina alterniflora in information
Status
Invasiveness
Arrival date
Occurrence
Source
Introduction
Species notes for this location
Location note
Management notes for this location
Impact
Mechanism:
Outcome:
Ecosystem services:
Impact information
The Invasive Spartina Project (2003) list down the impacts of the introduced Spartina alterniflora in the San Francisco Bay Area:
S. alterniflora can invade mudflats and channels and convert this habitat to marshland. Loss of mudflat and channel habitat may seriously impact the foraging habitat for numerous residential as well as migrating shorebirds and waterfowl, including the federally and state endangered California clapper rail (see Rallus longirostris obsoletus in Status: U.S Fish and Wildlife Service). S. alterniflora is also invading high marsh habitat, degrading or eliminating pickleweed (Salicornia virginica) habitat, impacting habitat for the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse (see Reithrodontomys raviventris in IUCN Red List of Threatened Species)
S. alterniflora hybridizes with the native Spartina spp. S. alterniflora is therefore a threat to the survival of native Spartina spp. Given the robust form and reproductive vigor of both the introduced S. alterniflora and their hybrids. Hybrids have variable morphology and may be more vigorous than S. alterniflora. Hybrids are difficult to distinguish from either parent species in the field. Molecular lab tests are required to confirm S. alterniflora or hybrid identification
S. alterniflora can cause increased rates of sedimentation, leading to the eventual clogging of flood control channels and natural sloughs, raising them to the overall elevation of the marsh plain.
Red List assessed species 4: EN = 1; VU = 2; LC = 1;
Locations
Mechanism
[1] Hybridisation
Outcomes
[11] Environmental Ecosystem - Habitat
  • [1] Modification of hydrology/water regulation, purification and quality /soil moisture
  • [1] Modification of food web
  • [3] Reduction in native biodiversity
  • [2] Unspecified ecosystem modification
  • [3] Habitat degradation
  • [1] Modification of successional patterns
[1] Socio-Economic
  • [1] Damage on aquaculture/mariculture/fishery
Management information
For details on preventative, physical, chemical and biological control of this species please read our pdf file on management information.
Management Category
Prevention
Control
Bibliography
25 references found for Spartina alterniflora

Managment information
Champion, P.D.; Clayton, J.S. 2000. Border control for potential aquatic weeds. Stage 1. Weed risk model. Science for Conservation 141. .
Summary: This report is the first stage in a three-stage development of a Border Control Programme for aquatic plants that have the potential to become ecological weeds in New Zealand.
Available from: http://www.doc.govt.nz/upload/documents/science-and-technical/sfc141.pdf [Accessed 13 June 2007]
Champion, P.D.; Clayton, J.S. 2001. Border control for potential aquatic weeds. Stage 2. Weed risk assessment. Science for Conservation 185. 30 p.
Summary: This report is the second stage in the development of a Border Control Programme for aquatic plants that have the potential to become ecological weeds in New Zealand. Importers and traders in aquatic plants were surveyed to identify the plant species known or likely to be present in New Zealand. The Aquatic Plant Weed Risk Assessment Model was used to help assess the level of risk posed by these species. The report presents evidence of the various entry pathways and considers the impact that new invasive aquatic weed species may have on vulnerable native aquatic species and communities.
Available from: http://www.doc.govt.nz/upload/documents/science-and-technical/SFC185.pdf [Accessed 13 June 2007]
Collins, J.N, May M, Grosso C. 2003. Smooth cordgrass Spartina alterniflora. Practical Guidebook to the Control of Invasive Aquatic and Wetland Plants of the San Francisco Bay - Delta Region.
Summary: Information on description, economic importance, distribution, habitat, history, growth, and impacts and management of species.
Available from: http://legacy.sfei.org/nis/smoothcordgrass.html [Accessed 22 May 2010].
The Guidebook is available from: http://legacy.sfei.org/nis/index.html
Daehler, C. C., and D. R. Strong. 1996. Status, Predictions, and prevention of introduced cordgrass Spartina spp. Invasions in Pacific Estuaries, USA. Biological Conservation 78 (1996) 51-58.
Environment Waikato. 2002. Spartina (Spartina alterniflora, S. anglica).
Grevstad, F. S., D. R. Strong, D. Garcia-Rossi, R. W. Switzer, and M. S. Weckere. 2003. Biological control of Spartina alternifora in Willapa Bay, Washington using the planthopper Prokelisia marginata: agent speci?city and early results. Biological Control 27 (2003) 32-42.
McEnnulty, F.R., Jones, T.E. and Bax, N.J. 2001, The Wed-Based Rapid Response Toolbox. Web publication
Summary: Available from: http://crimp.marine.csiro.au/NIMPIS/controls.htm [Accessed 19 May 2005]
McEnnulty, F. R., N. J. Bax, S. Britta, and M. L. Campbell. UNDATED. A Literature review of rapid response options for the control of ABWMAC listed species and related taxa in Australia. CSIRO Marine Research: Centre for Research on Introduced Marine Pests.
Murphy, K.C. 2001. Report to the Legislature: Progress of the 2001 Spartina Eradication Program. Washington State Department of Agriculture, Olympia, WA.
National Introduced Marine Pest Information System (NIMPIS), 2002. Glyphosate (eg. Roundup?).
Summary: Available from: http://www.marine.csiro.au/crimp/nimpis/controlDetail.asp?ID=90 [Accessed 25 March 2005]
Olofson, P. 2004. Email Communication: Subject: [Aliens-L] Spartina Project Update . Director of the San Francisco Invasive Spartina Project (www.spartina.org).
Patten, Kim., 2002. Smooth Cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) Control with Imazapyr Weed Technology. Volume 16:826�832
Western Aquatic Plant Management Society. 2004. Spartina alterniflora.
Summary: Available from: http://www.wapms.org/plants/spartina.html [Accessed 25 March 2005]
General information
Ayres, D. R., D. R. Strong, and P. Baye. 2003. Spartina foliosa (Poaceae): A common species on the road to rarity?. Madrono. 2003; 50(3): 209-213.
Bortolus, Alejandro., 2008. Error Cascades in the Biological Sciences: The Unwanted Consequences of Using Bad Taxonomy in Ecology. Ambio Vol. 37, No. 2, March 2008
Craft, C., S. Broome, and C. Campbell. 2002. Fifteen years of vegetation and soil development after brackish-water marsh creation. Restoration-Ecology. 2002; 10(2): 248-258.
Darnell, T. M., and E. H Smith. 2002. Recommended design for more accurate duplication of natural conditions in salt marsh creation. Environmental-Management. 2002; 29(6): 813-823.
Invasive Spartina Project. 2003. Introduced Spartina alterniflorahybrids (smooth cordgrass). The San Francisco Estuary Invasive Spartina Project.
ITIS (Integrated Taxonomic Information System). 2005. Online Database Spartina alterniflora
Summary: An online database that provides taxonomic information, common names, synonyms and geographical jurisdiction of a species. In addition links are provided to retrieve biological records and collection information from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) Data Portal and bioscience articles from BioOne journals.
Available from: http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=41267 [Accessed March 2005]
Kiawah Island Natural Habitat Conservancy. 2002. Beck Island.
Summary: Available from: http://www.kiawahconservancy.org/Habitat%20of%20Kiawah%20Island%20pages/Land%20Under%20Protection%20pages/Beck%20Island.html [Accessed 25 March 2005]
Shah, G. L., and V. Badrinath. 1985. A contribution to the angiospermic flora of Dahanu forest division in Maharashtra state India. Journal of Economic and Taxonomic Botany. 1985; 6(1): 117-142.
Taylor, M. D., J. P. Sinn, D. D. Davis, and E. J. Pell. 2002. The impact of ozone on a salt marsh cordgrass (Spartina alternifora). Environmental Pollution 120 (2002) 701-705
Vila, M., E. Weber, and C. M. D. Antonio. 2000. Conservation implications of invasion by plant hybridization. Biological Invasions 2: 207-217, 2000.
Contact
The following 1 contacts offer information an advice on Spartina alterniflora
Silliman,
Brian
Organization:
The Nature Conservancy David H. Smith Postdoctoral Fellow
Address:
Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences College of William and Mary
Phone:
Fax: