Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Summer 2011


Great Plains Research 21 (Fall 2011):175- 80


© 2011 Copyright by the Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Phragmites australis (common reed) is known to have occurred along the Platte River historically, but recent rapid increases in both distribution and density have begun to impact habitat for migrating sandhill cranes and nesting piping plovers and least terns. Invasiveness in Phragmites has been associated with the incursion of a European genotype (haplotype M) in other areas; determining the genotype of Phragmites along the central Platte River has implications for proper management of the river system. In 2008 we sampled Phragmites patches along the central Platte River from Lexington to Chapman, NE, stratified by bridge segments, to determine the current distribution of haplotype E (native) and haplotype M genotypes. In addition, we did a retrospective analysis of historical Phragmites collections from the central Platte watershed (1902- 2006) at the Bessey Herbarium. Fresh tissue from the 2008 survey and dried tissue from the herbarium specimens were classified as haplotype M or E using the restriction fragment length polymorphism procedure. The European haplotype was predominant in the 2008 samples: only 14 Phragmites shoots were identified as native haplotype E; 224 were non-native haplotype M. The retrospective analysis revealed primarily native haplotype individuals. Only collections made in Lancaster County, near Lincoln, NE, were haplotype M, and the earliest of these was collected in 1973.