Session C: Seasonality-Aseasonality


, Volume 125, Issue 1, pp 137-150

First online:

Seasonality/aseasonality of aquatic macrophytes in Southern Hemisphere inland waters

  • Davis S. MitchellAffiliated withCSIRO, Centre for Irrigation Research
  • , Kevin H. RogersAffiliated withDepartment of Botany, University of Witwatersrand

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The term aseasonality is used in this paper to describe environmental conditions which either lack annual seasonal change or have periodicities of change which are longer or shorter than the seasons. Environmental factors act on plants either as stresses or disturbances and changes in environment can signal the onset of conditions which are favourable or unfavourable to plant growth and reproduction. Plant life-histories are thus adapted to these environmental factors and respond to them with both seasonal and aseasonal periodicities, depending on their manner of occurrence and effect on the plants. A review of pertinent studies from the Southern Hemisphere shows that plants of the same life-form (submerged, floating, emergent) might differ in the types of adaptation and response to environmental conditions according to latitude but that the periodicity of response could be seasonal or aseasonal regardless of latitude. The concept of seasonality versus aseasonality is therefore misleading and an oversimplification of the variety of periodicities with which the environment acts on plant genotypes. Limnological principles of the Northern Hemisphere are applicable to aquatic macrophytes in the Southern Hemisphere but there is a particular need for research into the effects of biotic variables and water level fluctuations on aquatic plants and communities in the latter.


limnology aquatic macrophytes seasonality life-histories Southern Hemisphere