Phragmites Australis, also know as the Common Reed, is a wetland plant that is not native to the Great Lakes. The invasive plant grows and spreads rapidly in the wetlands around the Lakes, and as a result can crowd out native plants that are beneficial to the local ecosystems. 

Researchers at Michigan Tech are working on mapping the spread of the plant, though, in an effort to better understand its spread and plan for managing and reducing it. 

From Upper Peninsula’s Second Wave:

“The common reed, or phragmites australis, isn’t native to the Great Lakes, but grows quickly in our climate conditions into large, tall stands that can threaten wetlands habitat.

The plant hasn’t been studied very much, or mapped, which was the goal of the Tech scientists, in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey, Boston College and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Together, teams first mapped the U.S. coastlines of all five Great Lakes using satellites.

Then, they did field studies along the coastlines to confirm the satellite findings, and plot the locations of large stands of the reed, in a first-of-its-kind map.”

Read more about the map at the link above and in the article at Science Daily.