Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Natural Resource Management

First Advisor

Maribeth Latvis


hybridization, invasive species, phylogenomics, Russian thistle, Salsola, Salsoleae


Invasive species are forces of environmental, economic, and social change with detrimental impacts on ecosystems, commerce, agriculture, and human health. However, we still have a poor understanding of the processes that could be driving invasive potential. Hybridization may contribute to the establishment and spread of invasive lineages, as it may enhance genetic variation and facilitate rapid adaptation. Focusing on Russian thistle (Salsola tragus s.l., family Amaranthaceae) and closely related species, my thesis aims to clarify phylogenetic relationships and investigate how hybridization has shaped the invasion dynamics of these lineages. Known as one of the fastest plant invasions in the United States, these species are of management concern, yet taxonomic confusion impedes communication among stakeholders. My thesis aims to: 1) describe the history of Salsola invasion into the United States, provide a glimpse into the taxonomic confusion of these lineages, describe management strategies, and touch on how genetic information may clarify our understanding of their biology, and 2) build a phylogenetic framework for tribe Salsoleae and genus Salsola s.l. to understand the role of hybridization in plant invasions. I conduct a phylogenomic study using targeted sequencing of the Angiosperms353 probe set with the goal of resolving relationships at several taxonomic scales. Taken together, these chapters broadly communicate aspects of invasion biology to diverse audiences and will result in an improved understanding of this challenging group of invasive plants.

Number of Pages



South Dakota State University

Available for download on Thursday, August 15, 2024



Rights Statement

In Copyright