|Factors influencing the return of submerged plants to a clear-water, shallow temperate lake|In: Aquatic Botany. Elsevier Science: Tokyo; Oxford; New York; London; Amsterdam. ISSN 0304-3770, more
Algae; Aquatic birds; Eutrophication; Herbivores; Nitrate; Nitrates; Resilience; Resilience; Fresh water
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- Irfanullar, H.Md.
- Moss, B.
Lack of submerged vegetation was studied in a small, shallow, alkaline, clear-water lake with high nitrate concentration (mean 9 mg NO3-N L−1) and profuse filamentous green algae (FGA) (mainly Spirogyra sp.). A laboratory microcosm and two lake enclosure experiments were carried out using Elodea nuttallii (Planchon) St John. E. nuttallii grew about 1.7 times as well in sediment from its place of origin compared with sediment from the lake. Differential water quality had no effect, and neither sediment nor water prevented growth in the lake. Nutrient addition reduced plant growth by more than 55% because of shading from epiphytic filamentous green algae (shoot dry weight versus epiphytic algal dry weight, r = −0.491, P < 0.05). Transplanted Elodea plants grew better in enclosures in the lake than in laboratory conditions with lake water and sediment (P < 0.001, t-test). Rare Elodea individuals in the lake indicate the presence of plant propagules in the lake sediment, but excessive growth of filamentous green algae (summer mean 3.2 g dry weight m−2) significantly hamperd plant growth (shoot length reduced from 29 ± S.E.M. 1 to 25 ± 1 cm) and bird herbivory significantly reduced survival (from 82 ± 7 to 40 ± 6%) and shoot growth (from 78 ± 6 to 18 ± 5 cm) and thus eliminates establishment of even modest plant beds. Fish disturbance and sediment stability were not important. Restoration of submerged plants may require reduction of nitrate input, control of filamentous green algae and protection from birds.