The typical fern lifecycle consists of two alternating generations – a diploid sporophyte generation that produces spores by meiosis, and a haploid gametophyte generation that produces gametes that fuse to form a zygote through fertilization. Deviations from this “typical” life cycle are fairly common and include forms of asexual reproduction which allow one generation to postpone or avoid transition. Differences in ecological or environmental tolerance of generations have been found, and these differences, combined with long distance spore dispersal, can lead to spores germinating in locations that are not suitable for sporophytes. If the locations are suitable for gametophytes and they reproduce asexually, independent gametophyte populations can be established. The two most well-known fern species with independent gametophyte populations in North America are Trichomanes intricatum and Vittaria appalachiana. The highly reduced plants live in dark, humid, temperature moderated microhabitats on rock outcroppings throughout eastern North America. We are interested in using the distribution of genetic variation within and among populations to better understand their origins and evolutionary history. In addition, since there is evidence that the populations of these two species have existed without sexual reproduction for differing lengths of time, we hope to use them to test expectations of the long-term genetic effects of obligate asexuality. This is part of the dissertation work of Aaron Duffy.