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Biogeography of Phragmites australis lineages in the southwestern United States

Lambert, Adam M., Saltonstall, Kristin, Long, Randy, Dudley, Tom L.
Biological invasions 2016 v.18 no.9 pp. 2597-2617
Phragmites australis, anthropogenic activities, biogeography, chloroplast DNA, coasts, conservation status, ecological invasion, electrical conductivity, haplotypes, hybridization, hybrids, indigenous species, introduced species, invasive species, monitoring, rivers, social impact, soil pH, soil texture, surveys, transportation, urban development, wetlands, California, Eastern United States, Nevada
The environmental and social impacts of Phragmites australis invasion have been extensively studied in the eastern United States. In the West where the invasion is relatively recent, a lack of information on distributions and spread has limited our ability to manage invasive populations or assess whether native populations will experience a decline similar to that in the East. Between 2006 and 2015, we evaluated the genetic status, distribution, and soil properties (pH, electrical conductivity, and soil texture) of Phragmites stands in wetlands and riparian systems throughout the Southwest. Native (subspecies americanus), Introduced (haplotype M), and Gulf Coast (subspecies berlandieri) Phragmites lineages were identified in the survey region, as well as watershed-scale hybridization between the Native and Introduced lineages in southern Nevada. Two Asian haplotypes (P and Q) that were previously not known to occur in North America were found in California. The Native lineage was the most frequent and widespread across the region, with four cpDNA haplotypes (A, B, H, and AR) occurring at low densities in all wetland types. Most Introduced Phragmites stands were in or near major urban centers and associated with anthropogenic disturbance in wetlands and rivers, and we document their spread in the region, which is likely facilitated by transportation and urban development. Soil pH of Native and hybrid stands was higher (averaging 8.3 and 8.6, respectively) than Introduced stands (pH of 7.5) and was the only soil property that differed among lineages. Continued monitoring of all Phragmites lineages in the Southwest will aid in assessing the conservation status of Native populations and developing management priorities for non-native stands.