The tall-statured grasses in the genus Phragmites are dominant vegetation in wetlands worldwide and thus play a vital role in ecosystem functioning. As a result, Phragmites spp. are some of the most widely studied plants; particularly in areas where changes to their abundances have occurred, most notably in Europe and North America. In southern Africa a pattern of reed expansion has occurred in recent decades that has shown a similar trend to cryptic invasions reported in North America. This study used molecular techniques to explore the phylogeography of P. australis and P. mauritianus in the region to investigate whether the expansion is due to an alien invasion or local factors such as wetland disturbance. Three haplotypes were found and all haplotypes are presently considered African haplotypes (haplotype K for P. australis and haplotype V and AP for P. mauritianus). Both Phragmites spp. were found to have high genetic diversity. Microsatellite and grass-waxy analysis also found evidence of hybridization between the two species. No evidence was found for a recent cryptic invasion of non-native haplotypes in southern Africa. The expansion of P. australis and P. mauritianus is therefore most likely a result of anthropogenic activity. Identifying and mitigating the human-mediated factors that may be contributing to reed growth, such as eutrophication and sedimentation, should be the focus of future management protocols.

Expansive reed populations-alien invasion or disturbed wetlands? / K. Canavan, I.D. Paterson, C. Lambertini, M.P. Hill. - In: AOB PLANTS. - ISSN 2041-2851. - 10:2(2018), pp. ply014.1-ply014.11. [10.1093/aobpla/ply014]

Expansive reed populations-alien invasion or disturbed wetlands?

C. Lambertini;
2018

Abstract

The tall-statured grasses in the genus Phragmites are dominant vegetation in wetlands worldwide and thus play a vital role in ecosystem functioning. As a result, Phragmites spp. are some of the most widely studied plants; particularly in areas where changes to their abundances have occurred, most notably in Europe and North America. In southern Africa a pattern of reed expansion has occurred in recent decades that has shown a similar trend to cryptic invasions reported in North America. This study used molecular techniques to explore the phylogeography of P. australis and P. mauritianus in the region to investigate whether the expansion is due to an alien invasion or local factors such as wetland disturbance. Three haplotypes were found and all haplotypes are presently considered African haplotypes (haplotype K for P. australis and haplotype V and AP for P. mauritianus). Both Phragmites spp. were found to have high genetic diversity. Microsatellite and grass-waxy analysis also found evidence of hybridization between the two species. No evidence was found for a recent cryptic invasion of non-native haplotypes in southern Africa. The expansion of P. australis and P. mauritianus is therefore most likely a result of anthropogenic activity. Identifying and mitigating the human-mediated factors that may be contributing to reed growth, such as eutrophication and sedimentation, should be the focus of future management protocols.
Hybridization; Phragmites australis; Phragmites mauritianus; Phylogeography; Reed expansion; Tall-statured grasses
Settore BIO/02 - Botanica Sistematica
Settore BIO/03 - Botanica Ambientale e Applicata
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/890472
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