, Volume 817, Issue 1, pp 215–225 | Cite as

Water brownification may not promote invasions of submerged non-native macrophytes

  • Xuan Xu
  • Lei Yang
  • Xiaolong Huang
  • Zhongqiang Li
  • Dan Yu


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.


Invasion 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).

Authors’ contribution

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.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

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

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