Water brownification may not promote invasions of submerged non-native macrophytes
Some environmental factors, such as brownification and eutrophication, may influence the successful invasions of non-native submerged macrophytes. However, few studies have focused on how interactions between these factors influence the performance of exotic submerged plants. Here, we conducted an experiment in 60 indoor containers (170 l) over 68 days using the native species Hydrilla verticillata (L. f.) Royle and the non-native species Elodea nuttallii (Planch.) St. John to test the effects of brownification, eutrophication and their interactions on the growth and competition of native and non-native aquatic plants. Our results showed that the biomass of both H. verticillata and E. nuttallii increased in the brown water treatment and that eutrophication and water brownification did not lead to a shift from a native species-dominated system to a non-native-dominated system. However, brown water treatment decreased the relative competitive ability of E. nuttallii, and this decrease was exacerbated when brown water and nutrient treatments were combined. Our results indicated that some environmental factors, such as water brownification, eutrophication and their interactions, may not benefit the competition of some non-native submerged macrophytes. Further studies with more species are needed to corroborate these conclusions.
KeywordsInvasion Brown water Nutrient enrichment Competition Submerged plant Biological resistance
The authors gratefully acknowledge funding support from the Special Foundation of National Science and Technology Basic Research (2013FY112300), the Major Science and Technology Program for Water Pollution Control and Treatment (2015ZX07503-005) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31570366).
DY and ZL conceived the ideas and designed the experiment; XX, LY and XH conducted the experiment and collected the data; ZL and XX analysed the data and XX led the writing.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- Crain, C. M., 2008. Interactions between marsh plant species vary in direction and strength depending on environmental and consumer context. Journal of Ecology 96(1): 166–173.Google Scholar
- Elser, J. J., M. E. S. Bracken, E. E. Cleland, D. S. Gruner, W. S. Harpole, H. Hillebrand, J. T. Ngai, E. W. Seabloom, J. B. Shurin & J. E. Smith, 2007. Global analysis of nitrogen and phosphorus limitation of primary producers in freshwater, marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Ecology Letters 10: 1135–1142.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Feuchtmayr, H., R. Moran, K. Hatton, L. Connor, T. Heyes, B. Moss, I. Harvey & D. Atkinson, 2009. Global warming and eutrophication: effects on water chemistry and autotrophic communities in experimental hypertrophic shallow lake mesocosms. Journal of Applied Ecology 46: 713–723.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Graneli, W., 2012. Brownification of lakes. In Bengtsson, L., R. W. Herschy & R. W. Fairbridge (eds), Encyclopedia of Lakes and Reservoirs. Springer, Dordrecht: 117–119.Google Scholar
- Hidding, B., R. J. Brederveld & B. A. Nolet, 2010. How a bottom-dweller beats the canopy: inhibition of an aquatic weed (Potamogeton pectinatus) by macroalgae (Chara spp.). Freshwater Biology 55: 1758–1768.Google Scholar
- Solomon, C. T., S. E. Jones, B. C. Weidel, I. Buffam, M. L. Fork, J. Karlsson, S. Larsen, J. T. Lennon, J. S. Read, S. Sadro & J. E. Saros, 2015. Ecosystem consequences of changing inputs of terrestrial dissolved organic matter to lakes: current knowledge and future challenges. Ecosystems 18: 376–389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Sousa, W. T. Z., S. M. Thomaz, K. J. Murphy, M. J. Silveira & R. P. Mormul, 2009. Environmental predictors of the occurrence of exotic Hydrilla verticillata (L.f.) Royle and native Egeria najas Planch in a sub-tropical river floodplain: the Upper River Paraná, Brazil. Hydrobiologia 632: 65–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Sparks, D. L. & J. M. Bartels, 1996. Methods of soil analysis: chemical methods. Soil Science Society of America, Madison.Google Scholar
- Sterner, R. W. & J. J. Elser, 2002. Ecological stoichiometry: the biology of elements from molecules to the biosphere. Princeton University Press, Princeton.Google Scholar
- Vähätalo, A. & K. Salonen, 1997. Photochemical degradation of chromophoric dissolved organic matter and its contribution to bacterial respiration in a humic lake. Nord Humus Newslett 4: 14.Google Scholar
- Wang, Y. L., Y. Y. Gao, D. Yu & C. H. Liu, 2015. Physiological response of three submerged macrophytes to the high temperature and light intensity of summer. Journal of Hydroecology 5: 95–101.Google Scholar
- Yang, Q. & W. Li, 1989. The introduction of Elodea nuttallii in East Taihu Lake (in Chinese). Memoirs of Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology Academia Sinica 6: 84–92.Google Scholar