Advertisement

Vegetatio

, Volume 97, Issue 2, pp 161–172 | Cite as

Human impact on the ecological performance of Potamogeton species in northwestern Germany

  • G. Wiegleb
  • H. Brux
  • W. Herr
Article

Abstract

The changes in habitat quality of lowland rivers in Lower Saxony (Germany) during the past 40 years are outlined. Almost all chemical, physical, and morphological parameters have changed, resulting in most cases in an enhanced potential productivity, accompanied by a complex disturbance regime. Historical reconstruction of the change in river vegetation is presented to compare the frequency of macrophyte species 40 years ago with the situation of today. For a total of 289 sampling sites, the floristic change was exactly reconstructed. Nearly all species show a decline in frequency. This trend is also recognizable in Potamogeton, with the exception of two narrow-leaved species.

An attempt is made to explain both decline and maintenance in terms of life history characters (vital attributes) allowing the species to react to the changing habitat conditions. The successful species are characterized by certain life history characteristics which enable them to survive under the current disturbance regime. Most important aspects of life history are the ability to reproduce by means of turions and other fragments, a long-lived, deep-rooting rhizome system, phenotypic plasticity of above-ground parts, synchronous shoot polymorphism, and the potential to regenerate quickly from remaining buds after disturbance. The decline of formerly frequent species can be attributed mainly to the lack of certain key characters; however, physiological characters also may be important. The extirpation of some rare species could also be caused by random fluctuations in small populations. The general importance of population ecological research, particularly demography, life history theory, and the modelling of clonal populations in conservation ecology is stressed.

Keywords

Floristic change Habitat quality Life history Lowland rivers Macrophytes Potamogeton 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Agami, M. & Waisel, Y. 1986. The ecophysiology of roots of submerged vascular plants. Physiol. Veget. 24: 607–624.Google Scholar
  2. Brux, H. & Wiegleb, G. 1989. Makrofauna auf Potamogeton alpinus Balbis in drei Gewässern unterschiedlicher Habitatstruktur. Drosera '89: 85–89.Google Scholar
  3. Brux, H., Heim, R. & Wiegleb, G. 1989. Untersuchungen zum Lebenszyklus von Potamogeton alpinus Balbis und P. natans L. Verh. Ges. Ökol. 18: 665–670.Google Scholar
  4. Brux, H., Herr, W., Todeskino, D. & Wiegleb, G. 1988. A study on structure and dynamics of communities with Potamogeton alpinus Balbis in water bodies of the northern part of the Federal republic of Germany. Aquat. Bot. 32: 23–44.Google Scholar
  5. Brux, H., Todeskino, D. & Wiegleb, G. 1987. Growth and reproduction of Potamogeton alpinus Balbis growing in disturbed habitats. Arch. Hydrobiol. Beih. 27: 115–127.Google Scholar
  6. Butcher, R. W. 1933. Studies on the ecology of rivers. 1. On the distribution of macrophytic vegetation in the rivers of Great Britain. J. Ecol. 21: 59–91.Google Scholar
  7. Carbiener, R., Trémolières, M., Mercier, J. L. & Ortscheit, A. 1990. Aquatic macrophyte communities as bioindicators of eutrophication in calcareous oligosaprobe stream waters (Upper Rhine plaine, Alsace). Vegetatio 86: 71–88.Google Scholar
  8. Conrad, M. 1990. The geometry of evolution. BioSystems 24: 61–82.Google Scholar
  9. Dahl, H. J. & Hullen, M. 1989. Studie über die Möglichkeiten zur Entwicklung eines naturnahen Fließgewässersystems in Niedersachsen (Fließgewässerschutzsystem Niedersachsen). Naturschutz Landschaftspfl. Niedersachsen 18: 5–120.Google Scholar
  10. Dahl, H. J. & Wiegleb, G. 1984. Gewässerschutz und Wasserwirtschaft der Zukunft. Grundlagen eines zukünftigen Fließgewässerschutzes. Jahrb. Naturschutz u. Landschaftspflege 36: 26–65.Google Scholar
  11. Dawson, F. H. 1988. Water flow and the vegetation of running waters. In: J. J. Symoens (ed.), Vegetation of Inland Waters, Handbook of Vegetation Science, vol. 15/1, Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp. 283–310.Google Scholar
  12. Day, R. T., Keddy, P. A., McNeill, J. & Carleton, T. 1988. Fertility and disturbance gradients: a summary model for riverine marsh vegetation. Ecology 69: 1044–1054.Google Scholar
  13. Felzines, J. C. 1979. L'analyse factorielle des correspondances et l'information mutuelle entre les espèces et les facteurs du milieu. Application à l'écologie des macrophytes aquatiques et palustres. Bull. Soc. Bot. N. France 32: 39–63.Google Scholar
  14. Grime, J. P. 1979. Plant strategies and vegetation processes. Wiley, Chichester, 222 pp.Google Scholar
  15. Grube, H. J. 1975. Die Makrophytenvegetation der Fleßgewässer in Süd-Niedersachsen und ihre Beziehungen zur Gewässerverschmutzung. Arch. Hydrobiol. Suppl. 45: 376–456.Google Scholar
  16. Haeupler, H., Montag, A., Woöldecke, K. & Garve, E. 1985. Rote Liste Gefäßpflanzen Niedersachsen und Bremen. Fachbehörde für Naturschutz, Hannover. 34 pp.Google Scholar
  17. Hagstroem, J. O. 1916. Critical researches on the Potamogetons. Kungl. Svenska Vetenskapsakad. Handlingar, 55,5: 1–281. Stockholm.Google Scholar
  18. Haslam, S. M. 1987. Rivers plants of Western Europe. Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge. 512 pp.Google Scholar
  19. hellquist, C. B. 1980. Correlation of alkalinity and the distribution of Potamogeton in New England. Rhodora 82: 331–344.Google Scholar
  20. Herr, W. & Wiegleb, G. 1985. Die Potamogetonaceae niedersächsischer Fließgewässer. Teil 2. Göttinger Florist. Rundbr. 19: 2–16.Google Scholar
  21. Herr, W., Todeskino, D. & Wiegleb, G. 1989a. Übersicht über Flora und Vegetation der niedersächsischen Fließgewässer unter besonderer Berücksichtigung von Naturschutz und Landschaftspflege. Naturschutz und Landschaftspflege in Niedersachsen 18: 145–283.Google Scholar
  22. Herr, W., Wiegleb, G. & Todeskino, D. 1989b. Veränderungen von Flora und Vegetation von ausgewählten Fließgewässern Niedersachsens nach 40 Jahren (1946/1986). Naturschutz u. Landschaftspflege in Niedersachsen 18: 121–144.Google Scholar
  23. Holmes, N. T. H. & Whitton, B. A. 1977. The macrophytic vegetation of the river Tees in 1975: observed and predicted changes. Freshwater Biol. 7: 43–60.Google Scholar
  24. Holttum, R. E. 1955. Growth habits of monocotyledons-variations on a theme. Phytomorphology 5: 399–413.Google Scholar
  25. Hough, R. A. & Wetzel, R. G. 1977. Photosynthetic pathways of some aquatic plants. Aquat. Bot. 3: 297–313.Google Scholar
  26. Hutchinson, G. E. 1975. A Treatise on Limnology, vol. 3: Limnological Botany. Wiley, New York. 660 pp.Google Scholar
  27. Kadono, Y. 1982. Distribution and habitat of Japanese Potamogeton. Bot. Mag. Tokyo 95: 63–67.Google Scholar
  28. Kadono, Y. 1984. Comparative ecology of Japanese Potamogeton: An extensive survey with special reference to growth form and life cycle. Jap. J. Ecol. 34: 161–172.Google Scholar
  29. Kautsky, L. 1987. Life-cycles of three populations of Potamogeton pectinatus L. at different degrees of wave exposure in the Askö area, northern Baltic proper. Aquat. Bot. 27: 177–186.Google Scholar
  30. Kautsky, L. 1988. Life strategies of aquatic soft bottom macrophytes. Oikos 53: 126–135.Google Scholar
  31. Kohler, A. 1978. Wasserpflanzen als Bioindikatoren. Beih. Veröff. Naturschutz u. Landschaftspflege Bad.-Württ. 11: 251–257.Google Scholar
  32. Kohler, A. 1980. Gewässerbiotope in Agrarlandschaften. Landwirtschaftliche Forschung, Sonderheft 37: 46–60.Google Scholar
  33. Loehle, C. 1987. Partitioning of reproductive effort in clonal plants: a benefit-cost model. Oikos 49: 199–208.Google Scholar
  34. Mitchell, D. S. & Rogers, K. H. 1985. Seasonality/aseasonality of aquatic macrophytes in Southern Hemisphere inland waters. Hydrobiologia 125: 137–150.Google Scholar
  35. Murphy, K. J., Roerslett, B. & Springuel, I. 1990. Strategy analysis of submerged lake macrophyte communities: an international example. Aquat. Bot. 36: 303–323.Google Scholar
  36. Noble, I. R. & Slatyer, R. O. 1980. The use of vital attributes to predict successional changes in plant communities subjected to recurrent disturbance. Begetatio 43: 5–21.Google Scholar
  37. Pickett, S. T. A., Kolasa, J., Armesto, J. J. & Collins, S. L. 1989. The ecological concept of disturbance and its expression at various hierarchical levels. Oikos 54: 129–136.Google Scholar
  38. Pietsch, W. 1972. Ausgewählte Beispiele für Indikatoreigen-schaften höherer Wasserpflanzen. Arch. Naturschutz Landschaftsforschung 12: 121–151.Google Scholar
  39. Pip, E., 1979. Survey of the ecology of submerged aquatic macrophytes in Central Canada. Aquat. Bot. 7: 339–358.Google Scholar
  40. Primack, R. B. & Kang, H. 1989. Measuring fitness and natural selection in wild plant populations. Annu. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 20: 367–396.Google Scholar
  41. Raven, J. A. 1981. Nutritional strategies of submerged benthic plants: the acquisition of C, N and P by rhizophytes and haptophytes. New Phytol. 88: 1–30.Google Scholar
  42. Roll, H. 1938a. Allgemein wichtige Ergebnisse für die Pflanzensoziologie bei der Untersuchung von Fließgewässern in Holstein. Feddes Repert. Beih. 101: 108–112.Google Scholar
  43. Roll, H. 1938b. Die Pflanzengesellschaften ostholsteinischer Fließgewässer. Arch. Hydrobiol. 34: 159–305.Google Scholar
  44. Schlichting, C. D. 1986. The evolution of phenotypic plasticity in plants. Annu. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 17: 667–693.Google Scholar
  45. Seddon, B. 1972. Aquatic macrophytes as limnological indicators. Freshwater Biol. 2: 107–130.Google Scholar
  46. Sondergaard, M. 1988. Photosynthesis of aquatic plants under natural conditions. In: J. J. Symoens (ed.), Vegetation of Inland Waters. Handbook of Vegetation Science 15/1. Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp. 63–112.Google Scholar
  47. Stearns, S. C. 1989. The evolutionary significance of phenotypic plasticity. BioScience 39: 436–445.Google Scholar
  48. Sukopp, H. 1972. Wandel von Flora und Vegetation in Mitteleuropa unter dem Einfluß des Menschen. Berichte über Landwirtschaft 50: 112–139.Google Scholar
  49. Taylor, D. R., Aarsen, L. W. & Loehle, C. 1990. On the relationship between r/K selection and environmental carrying capacity: a new habitat templet for plant life history strategies. Oikos 58: 239–250.Google Scholar
  50. Tomlinson, P. B. 1982. Chance and design in the construction of plants. In: R. Sattler (ed.), Axioms and principles of plant construction, Nijhoff, The Hague, pp. 162–183.Google Scholar
  51. Van Steenis, C. G. G. J. 1981. Rheophytes of the world. Sijthoff and Noordhoff, Alphen.Google Scholar
  52. Van Vierssen, W. 1989. Relationship between survival strategies of aquatic weeds and control measures. In: A. H. Pieterse and K. J. Murphy (Editors), Aquatic Weeds. Oxford Univ. Press, Oxford, pp. 238–253.Google Scholar
  53. Van Wijk, R. J. 1988. Ecological studies on Potamogeton pectinatus L. I. General characteristics, biomass production and life cycles under field conditions. Aquat. Bot. 31: 211–258.Google Scholar
  54. Weber-Oldecop, D. W. 1969. Wasserpflanzengesellschaften im östlichen Niedersachsen. Diss. TU Hannover.Google Scholar
  55. Weber-Oldecop, D. W. 1982. Die Vegetation der Kossau. Die Heimat 89: 122–125.Google Scholar
  56. West-Eberhard, M. J. 1989. Phenotypic plasticity and the origins of diversity. Annu. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 20: 249–278.Google Scholar
  57. Wiegleb, G. 1978. Untersuchungen über den Zusammenhang zwischen hydrochemischen Umweltfaktoren und Makrophytenvegetation in stehenden Gewässern. Arch. Hydrobiol. 83: 443–484.Google Scholar
  58. Wiegleb, G. 1981. Struktur, Verbreitung und Bewertung von Makrophytengesellschaften niedersächsischer Fließgewässer. Limnologica (Berlin) 13: 427–448.Google Scholar
  59. Wiegleb, G. 1984a. A study of the habitat conditions of the macrophytic vegetation in selected river systems in Western Lower Saxony (FRG). Aquat. Bot. 18: 313–352.Google Scholar
  60. Wiegleb, G. 1984b. Bibliography on Potamogeton alpinus Balbis. Part 2. Excerpta Botanica, Sectio B 23: 145–153.Google Scholar
  61. Wiegleb, G. 1984c. Makrophytenkartierung in niedersächsischen Fließgewässern—Methoden, Ziele und Ergebnisse. Inf. Naturschutz Landschaftspflege 4: 109–136.Google Scholar
  62. Wiegleb, G. 1988a. Analysis of flora and vegetation in rivers —concepts and applications. In: J. J. Symoens (ed.), Vegetation of Inland Waters. Handbook of Vegetation Science 15/1, Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp. 311–340.Google Scholar
  63. Wiegleb, G. 1988b. Notes on pondweeds—outlines for a monographic treatment of the genus Potamogeton L. Feddes Repert. 99: 249–266.Google Scholar
  64. Wiegleb, G. 1989. Theoretische und praktische Überlegungen zur ökologischen Bewertung von Landschaftsteilen, diskutiert am Beispiel der Fließgewässer. Landschaft + Stadt 21: 15–20.Google Scholar
  65. Wiegleb, G. 1991. Die wissenschaftlichen Grundlagen von Fließgewässer-Renaturierungskonzepten. Verh. Ges. Ökol. 19/2, in press.Google Scholar
  66. Wiegleb, G. & Brux, H. 1991. Comparison of life-history characters of broad-leaved species of the genus Potamogeton L. I. General characterization of morphology and reproductive strategies. Aquat. Bot. 39: 131–146.Google Scholar
  67. Wiegleb, G. & Herr, W. 1984. Die Potamogetonaceae niedersächsischer Fließgewässer, Teil 1. Göttinger Florist. Rundbr. 18: 65–86.Google Scholar
  68. Wiegleb, G., Herr, W. & Todeskino, D. 1989. Ten years of vegetation dynamics in selected rivers in north west Germany. Vegetatio 82: 163–178.Google Scholar
  69. Wiegleb, G. & Kadono, Y. 1989a. Composition, structure, and distribution of plant communities in Japanese rivers. Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 109: 81–130.Google Scholar
  70. Wiegleb, G. & Kadono, Y. 1989b. Growth and development of Potamogeton distinctus in an irrigation pond in Southwestern Japan. Nordic J. Bot. 9: 241–249.Google Scholar
  71. Wiegleb, G. & Todeskino, D. 1983. Habitat conditions of Potamogeton alpinus Balbis stands and relations to the plants biological characters. Proc. Int. Symp. Aquat. Macrophytes, Nijmegen 1983, p. 311–316.Google Scholar
  72. Wiegleb, G. & Todeskino, D. 1985. Der biologische Lebenszyklus von Potamogeton alpinus und dessen Bedeutung für das Vorkommen der Art. Verh. Ges. Ökol. 13: 191–198.Google Scholar
  73. Wiens, J. A. 1989. Spatial scaling in ecology. Functional Ecol. 3: 385–397.Google Scholar
  74. Wilmanns, O. 1983. Ökologische Pflanzensoziologie. Quelle und Meyer, Heidelberg. 286 pp.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Wiegleb
    • 1
  • H. Brux
    • 2
  • W. Herr
    • 2
  1. 1.Fachbereich 7 BiologieUniversity of OldenburgOldenburgGermany
  2. 2.IBL (Institute of Applied Biology, Landscape Ecology, and Landscape Planning)OldenburgGermany

Personalised recommendations