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Outcomes of submerged macrophyte restoration in a shallow impounded, eutrophic river

Paice, R.L., Chambers, J.M. and Robson, B.J. (2015) Outcomes of submerged macrophyte restoration in a shallow impounded, eutrophic river. Hydrobiologia, 778 (1). pp. 179-192.

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Restoration of submerged macrophytes in eutrophic shallow freshwater ecosystems is rarely undertaken without additional measures to improve water clarity. Increasing water clarity is extremely difficult to achieve in some eutrophic waters, so this study trialled the establishment of macrophytes directly into a turbid, phytoplankton-dominated system. The submerged macrophyte Vallisneria australis grew successfully in five 48-m2 protective exclosures, from transplants attached to steel mesh for anchorage in flocculent sediments. Plant growth, water quality, and zooplankton and macroinvertebrate richness and abundance were measured and compared with open water control plots throughout the growing season. V. australis grew well despite poor water quality (total phosphorus 44–1400 µg l−1; total nitrogen 650–14,000 µg l−1; chlorophyll a 1.6–770 µg l−1; turbidity 3–207 NTU), attaining 85–100% cover after 6 months. Water quality was not improved within macrophyte meadows and zooplankton grazing was not enhanced. Richness and abundance of macroinvertebrates increased and additional native macrophyte species colonised the exclosures. Co-dominance of phytoplankton and macrophytes was achieved in exclosures, with beneficial outcomes for biodiversity. Rapid destruction of macrophyte meadows by waterbirds on removal of protective cages indicated the need for continued protection for long-term establishment of submerged macrophytes.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Kluwer Academic Publishers
Copyright: © 2015 Springer International Publishing Switzerland
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