Strong growth limitation of a floating plant (Lemna gibba) by the submerged macrophyte (Elodea nuttallii) under laboratory conditions

S. Szabo, M. Scheffer, R.M.M. Roijackers, B. Waluto, L. Zambrano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

1. The asymmetric competition for light and nutrients between floating and submerged aquatic plants is thought to be key in explaining why dominance by either of these groups can be stable and difficult to change. 2. Although the shading effect of floating plants on submerged plants has been well documented, the impact of submerged plants on floating plants has been poorly explored hitherto. 3. Here, we used laboratory experiments to examine how submerged plant (Elodea nuttallii) alter nutrient conditions in the water column and how this affects the growth of floating plants (Lemna gibba). 4. We demonstrate that, at higher nutrient concentrations, Lemna is increasingly likely to outcompete Elodea. 5. Under low nutrient concentrations (0.1–2 mg N L-1) Elodea can strongly reduce the growth of Lemna. Growth of floating plants virtually stopped in some of the experiments with Elodea. 6. Extremely reduced tissue N, Mn, chlorophyll and elongated roots indicated that the growth inhibition of Lemna by Elodea was predominantly caused by the latter's impact on the nutrient conditions for floating plants. 7. These results strengthen the hypothesis that submerged plants can prevent colonization of a lake by floating plants
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)681-690
JournalFreshwater Biology
Volume55
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Keywords

  • shallow urban lakes
  • aquatic macrophytes
  • azolla-filiculoides
  • phosphorus sources
  • catastrophic loss
  • waste-water
  • duckweed
  • competition
  • vegetation
  • algae

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