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Higher tolerance of canopy-forming Potamogeton crispus than rosette-forming Vallisneria natans to high nitrogen concentration as evidenced from experiments in 10 ponds with contrasting nitrogen levels

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  • Qing Yu, CAS - Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • ,
  • Hong-Zhu Wang, CAS - Institute of Hydrobiology, China
  • Chi Xu, Nanjing University, China
  • Li Yan
  • ,
  • Shuo Nan Ma, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
  • ,
  • Xiao-Min Liang, CAS - Institute of Hydrobiology, Denmark
  • Erik Jeppesen
  • Hai Jun Wang, CAS - Institute of Hydrobiology

Due to excess nutrient loading, loss of submersed macrophytes is a worldwide phenomenon in shallow lakes. Phosphorus is known to contribute significantly to macrophyte recession, but the role of nitrogen has received increasing attention. Our understanding of how high nitrogen concentrations affect the growth of submersed macrophytes, particularly under natural conditions, is still limited. In this study, we conducted experiments with canopy-forming Potamogeton crispus in 10 ponds subjected to substantial differences in nitrogen loading (five targeted total nitrogen concentrations: control, 2, 10, 20, and 100 mg L -1) and compared the results with those of our earlier published experiments with rosette-forming Vallisneria natans performed 1 year before. Canopy-forming P. crispus was more tolerant than rosette-forming V. natans to exposure to high NH 4 concentrations. This is probably because canopy-forming species reach the water surface where there is sufficient light for production of carbohydrates, thereby allowing the plants to partly overcome high NH 4 stress. Both the canopy-forming P. crispus and the rosette-forming V. natans showed clear declining trends with increasing chlorophyll a in the water. Accordingly, shading by phytoplankton might be of key importance for the decline in submersed macrophytes in this experiment. Both experiments revealed free amino acids (FAA) to be a useful indicator of physiological stress by high ammonium but is not a reliable indicator of macrophyte growth.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1845
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Research areas

  • Ammonium, Growth form, Periphyton, Phosphorus, Phytoplankton, Submersed macrophytes, Whole-ecosystem experiment

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