A comparison of irradiance and phosphorus effects on the growth of three submerged macrophytes

Bin Zhu, Christine M. Mayer, Lars G. Rudstam, Edward L. Mills, Mark E. Ritchie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

A fully factorial pond experiment was designed using two irradiance levels and two phosphorus concentrations to investigate irradiance and phosphorus effects on the growth of three submerged macrophytes: common waterweed (Elodea canadensis), Eurasian water milfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum), and water stargrass (Zosterella dubia). Results revealed that higher irradiance (230 μmol s-1 m-2 vs. 113 μmol s-1 m-2 at 2 m depth) had significant positive effects on submerged macrophyte growth: increasing the number of individuals (seven-fold), the number of species surviving (two-fold), aboveground biomass (11-fold), belowground biomass (10-fold), and total biomass (11-fold), whereas elevated sediment phosphorus (2.1-3.3 mg g-1 vs. 0.7 mg g-1 dry sediment) did not have any significant impact. However, responses to irradiance differ among macrophyte species due to their morphology and physiology. Waterweed increased in numbers of individuals and total biomass under high irradiance while biomass per individual remained the same (∼0.02 g). The other species increased both in numbers and biomass per individual. These results suggest that increased irradiance rather than decreased phosphorus loading is the main driver of changes in submerged macrophytes in North American temperate lake ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)358-362
Number of pages5
JournalAquatic Botany
Volume88
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2008

Keywords

  • Dreissenid mussel
  • Irradiance
  • Phosphorus
  • Species richness
  • Submerged macrophyte
  • Water clarity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Plant Science

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