Aquatic Ecology

, Volume 49, Issue 3, pp 333–342 | Cite as

Recovery limitation of endangered Ottelia acuminata by allelopathic interaction with cyanobacteria

  • Runbing Xu
  • Feng Wu
  • Sabine Hilt
  • Cheng Wu
  • Xiaolong Wang
  • Xuexiu ChangEmail author


Recovery of rare aquatic plant species in eutrophic lakes often fails, and mutual allelopathic effects between cyanobacteria and submerged macrophytes are one potential reason. In this study, we investigated allelopathic interactions between cyanobacteria and Ottelia acuminata, an endangered submerged macrophyte species in China. We tested effects of Microcystis aeruginosa on germination and seedling growth of two varieties of O. acuminata (O. acuminata var. crispa, OAC; and O. acuminata var. songmingensis, OAS) and vice versa effects of culture water of young seedlings and mature macrophytes on the growth of M. aeruginosa. We found that: (1) The culture water of mature O. acuminata (both OAC and OAS) allelopathically promoted M. aeruginosa growth, while seedlings had no effect. (2) M. aeruginosa exudates and extracts significantly promoted or inhibited seed germination of O. acuminata; (3) both exudates and extracts significantly decreased the seedling vitality of OAC and OAS. (4) M. aeruginosa exudates and extracts inhibited seedlings growth of O. acuminata, especially growth of roots and the second true leaf. (5) Allelopathic effects of M. aeruginosa exudates were stronger than those of extracts, and OAC showed stronger resistance to cyanobacteria than OAS. Our results indicate that cyanobacteria can allelopathically inhibit O. acuminata mainly by their exudates, while mature O. acuminata stimulate cyanobacteria growth. Such negative effects of cyanobacteria may contribute to the disappearance of O. acuminata and also slow down their recovery in eutrophic lakes.


Microcystis aeruginosa Ottelia acuminata Allelopathic effect Endangered native species Macrophytes restoration 



This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 31260138, U1202231) and Major Science and Technology Program for Water Pollution Control and Treatment (2012ZX07102-003).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Runbing Xu
    • 1
  • Feng Wu
    • 1
  • Sabine Hilt
    • 2
  • Cheng Wu
    • 1
  • Xiaolong Wang
    • 1
  • Xuexiu Chang
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Ecology and Environmental SciencesYunnan UniversityKunmingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland FisheriesBerlinGermany

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