Expansive reed populations – alien invasion or disturbed wetlands?

An example of P. australis reed expansion in the Western Cape, South Africa (photograph taken by K. Canavan).

In southern Africa a pattern of Phragmites spp. reed expansion has occurred in recent decades that has shown a similar trend to cryptic invasions reported in North and South America. A recent Editor’s Choice article published in AoB PLANTS by Canavan et al. used molecular techniques to explore the phylogeography of P. australis and P. mauritianus and found no evidence of cryptic invasion. The expansion of P. australis and P. mauritianus is therefore occurring within native haplotypes and is most likely a result of anthropogenic activity that has disturbed wetlands.

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