The Effects of Nitrate Loading on the Invasive Macrophyte Hydrilla verticillata and Two Common, Native Macrophytes in Florida
Rising nitrate concentrations in the water column and the spread of invasive, non-native macrophytes are two major threats to Florida's oligotrophic, freshwater ecosystems. We used a replicated mesocosm experiment to test the effects of elevated nitrate concentrations in the water on the growth of the invasive macrophyte Hydrilla verticillata and two common, native submerged macrophytes Vallisneria americana and Sagittaria kurziana. Results from this study indicate that nitrate concentrations of 1.0 mg L?1 NO3-N in the water increased the final dry-weight biomass of H. verticillata by 2.75 times, while having no statistical effect on the growth of the two native species. Additionally, H. verticillata grew at a faster rate than the two native species in the low nitrate treatments accounting for 82% of the total biomass, indicating that it may have the capacity to invade relatively pristine communities. In waters where nitrate concentrations continue to rise, the cost of control efforts for H. verticillata may substantially increase in the future.
Publisher - Elsevier
Subjects - Chemical, Nitrate; Macrophyte, Hydrilla Verticillata; Invasive Species
Citation: Kennedy TL, Horth LA, Carr DE. 2009. The Effects of Nitrate Loading on the Invasive Macrophyte Hydrilla verticillata and Two Common, Native Macrophytes in Florida. Aquatic Botany; 91(3):253-256 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aquabot.2009.06.008