Site 9: Phragmites australis

Only that day dawns to which we are awake.

Henry David Thoreau

The Common Reed (Phragmites australis) is an invasive salt marsh species that is found in multiple stand around campus. Site 9 historically sits at a small stand - today, however, we see that the invasive has colonized most of the area and taken over the niche of the native species. This plant is one of the most recognizable invasive species in the salt marsh habitats of Rhode Island.

Working with restoration ecologist Laura Meyerson from the University of Rhode Island, Michael Jedrey's middle school students are monitoring the population of Phragmites at Rocky Hill School. If you step to the left of the trail post at this area, you will see a monitoring project in-action. Cleared in late August, students have been monitoring the response of Phragmites in this plot to disturbance, measuring the growth rate as the plant reclaims the area. It's quick response to disturbance is one of the features that makes this plant such a successful invasive.

 

Land of Fires - Site 9