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Charophyte occurrence in Ceratophyllum demersum stands

Abstract

The hornwort Ceratophyllum demersum is a loosely attached to the bottom or free-floating vascular macrophyte, which builds dense stands in nutrient-rich waters. The hornwort stands are usually monospecific communities with a negligible contribution of other aquatic plants. However, some published literature data and our own observations evidenced the co-occurrence of densely growing Ceratophyllum and other macrophytes, including charophytes, which by contrast to hornwort are indicative of clear and less productive waters. Thus, the aim of this study was to identify the charophyte species growing in C. demersum stands and to define the environmental conditions promoting this co-occurrence. In 18 natural lakes of Western Poland, 60 stands of Ceratophyllum demersum were studied in the years 2001–2005. A total of 25 species built the studied stands. As many as eight charophyte species, 13 vascular plants, two moss species and one filamentous alga co-occurred with C. demersum. Among charophytes rare to Poland Chara polyacantha and Nitella gracilis were identified. Nitellopsis obtusa and Chara globularis revealed the highest frequencies along with Myriophyllum spicatum. Morphology of lakes combined with water quality, particularly transparency, appeared to regulate the coexistence of charophytes and C. demersum, macrophytes usually competing with each other.

Guest editors: M. T. Ferreira, M. O’Hare, K. Szoszkiewicz & S. Hellsten / Plants in Hydrosystems: From Functional Ecology to Weed Research