, Volume 655, Issue 1, pp 37–47 | Cite as

Asexual propagations of introduced exotic macrophytes Elodea nuttallii, Myriophyllum aquaticum, and M. propinquum are improved by nutrient-rich sediments in China

  • Dong Xie
  • Dan Yu
  • Ling-Fei Yu
  • Chun-Hua Liu
Primary research paper


An increasing number of recent studies indicate that multiple interacting factors can affect the invasion of plants. However, few studies have focused on asexual propagation and the interaction of propagation with environmental factors that regulate the invasive potential of introduced exotic species in aquatic habitats. This study was designed to investigate the differences in asexual propagation between introduced exotic and non-invasive native aquatic macrophytes in nutrient-poor and nutrient-rich sediments and to test the hypothesis that differences in asexual propagation (stem fragment production) and propagule establishment between introduced exotic and non-invasive native macrophytes are driven by sediment nutrient levels. Three exotic aquatic macrophytes (Elodea nuttallii, Myriophyllum aquaticum, and M. propinquum) recently introduced to China and their non-invasive native counterparts (Hydrilla verticillata, Moguraense, and M. ussuriense) were used for comparison in nutrient-poor (TN 0.59 and TP 0.03 mg g−1) and nutrient-rich (TN 2.35 and TP 0.10 mg g−1) sediments. After 8 weeks of growth, the exotic species tended to produce more total biomass, branch biomass and apical shoots and have higher relative growth rate (RGR) than their native counterparts in nutrient-rich sediment. Rooting efficiency and root growth of exotic fragments were higher than that of native counterparts in nutrient-rich sediment, although the survival rates of fragments did not differ between native and exotic species. In addition, superior traits (rooting efficiency and root growth) of exotic species were also observed in nutrient-poor sediment, but to a lesser degree than in nutrient-rich sediment. These results suggest that asexual propagation of these three introduced exotic macrophytes is more effective in nutrient-rich sediment than in nutrient-poor sediment in China.


Biological invasion Elodea Fragmentation Hydrilla Myriophyllum Resource hypothesis 



We thank Keyan Xiao, Wen Xiong, and Qiang Wang for discussion and comments on the manuscript. We also greatly appreciate Dr. Sidinei M. Thomaz and two anonymous reviewers for valuable comments on an early version of the manuscript. This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (30770363 and 30930011).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The National Field Station of Freshwater Ecosystem in Liangzi Lake, College of Life SciencesWuhan UniversityWuhanPeople’s Republic of China

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