Effects of two submerged macrophyte species on microbes and metazoans in rooftop water-storage ponds with different labile carbon loadings

Alberto Maceda-Veiga*, Ralph MacNally, Sara Rodríguez, Sandor Szabo, Edwin T.H.M. Peeters, Thomas Ruff, Humbert Salvadó

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Nature-based solutions including rooftop-water storage ponds are increasingly adopted in cities as new eco-designs to address climate change issues, such as water scarcity and storm-water runoff. Macrophytes may be valuable additions for treating stored rooftop waters and provisioning other services, including aquaponics, esthetic and wildlife-conservation values. However, the efficacy of macrophyte treatments has not been tested with influxes of different labile carbon loadings such as those occurring in storms. Moreover, little is known about how macrophytes affect communities of metazoans and microbes, including protozoans, which are key players in the water-treatment process. Here, we experimentally investigated the effectiveness of two widely distributed macrophytes, Ceratophyllum demersum and Egeria densa, for treating drained rooftop water fed with two types of leaf litter, namely Quercus robur (high C lability) and Quercus rubra (low C lability). C. demersum was better than E. densa at reducing water conductivity (by 10 ̶ 40 µS/cm), TDS (by 10–18 mg/L), DOC (by 4–5 mg/L) and at increasing water transparency (by 4–9%), water O2 levels (by 19–27%) and daylight pH (by 0.9–1.3) compared to leaf-litter only microcosms after 30 days. Each treatment developed a different community of algae, protozoa and metazoa. Greater plant mass and epiphytic chlorophyll-a suggested that C. demersum was better at providing supporting habitat than E. densa. The two macrophytes did not differ in detritus accumulation, but E. densa was more prone to develop filamentous bacteria, which cause sludge bulking in water-treatment systems. Our study highlights the superior capacity of C. demersum and the usefulness of whole-ecosystem experiments in choosing the most adequate macrophyte species for nature-based engineered solutions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number117999
JournalWater Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022


  • Aquatic plants
  • Eutrophication
  • Protozoa
  • Rainwater harvesting
  • Storm-water runoff
  • Water quality
  • Water treatment


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of two submerged macrophyte species on microbes and metazoans in rooftop water-storage ponds with different labile carbon loadings'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this