Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Date of Award

January 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name



Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Donna R. Kashian


The invasive reed, Phragmites australis, is widespread within the Great Lakes region, and is often blamed for habitat degradation. Once established, it creates dense litter mats that may persist following remediation efforts of living stock removal. We investigated the effects of P. australis and Typha angustifolia, narrow-leaf cattail, litter on seedling emergence from the native seed bank by harvesting soils from five Great Lakes coastal marshes densely populated by either Phragmites or Typha and exposing them to Phramities or Typha litter in treatments of varying litter depths. Seedling emergences were quantified for six weeks. Soils from Phragmites dominated sites had significantly less instances of emergence regardless of litter depth compared to soils from Typha dominated sites, and in general the deeper the litter fewer seeds emerged regardless of litter species. These results indicate that Phragmites can have a negative impact on the viability of the seedbank in a Great lakes coastal marsh.