Biological Invasions

, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp 1029–1044 | Cite as

Eutrophication, agriculture and water level control shift aquatic plant communities from floating-leaved to submerged macrophytes in Lake Chini, Malaysia

  • Zati Sharip
  • Shon S. Schooler
  • Matthew R. Hipsey
  • Richard J. Hobbs
Original Paper


In this study we: (1) present a quantitative spatial analysis of the macrophyte communities in Lake Chini with a focus on the biogeographical distributions of the native Nelumbo nucifera and the invasive Cabomba furcata; (2) examine the environmental changes that affect plant community composition; and (3) outline a conceptual model of the variation of ecological processes that shape the macrophyte communities. Plant species cover, biomass of C. furcata and N. nucifera, and water quality and environmental variables were measured before and after monsoonal floods in September 2009 and April 2010. Permutational multivariate analysis was used to examine the significance of the invasion of C. furcata at different spatial scales. Relationships between plant species cover and environmental variables before and after flooding were examined using principal coordinates analysis and non-parametric multivariate multiple regressions. Our findings suggest that (1) Variation in plant communities was significant at the lake scale and the distribution of plant species changed after annual floods. (2) Invasion by C. furcata significantly affected the overall plant community composition. (3) C. furcata biomass increased after the monsoonal season, which indicates that C. furcata is adapted to flooding events and that it is becoming increasingly abundant. (4) In addition to the strong monsoonal effect, total depth, nutrient concentration, and sediment type were important environmental variables that significantly affected plant community composition. The macrophyte community in Lake Chini is highly dynamic. The spatial and temporal plant community dynamics are associated with flood regime, water quality, and substrate. Human-induced changes in these parameters are likely shifting the macrophyte dominance from floating-leaved to submerged species.


Ecological alteration Eutrophication Floodplain wetland Invasive aquatic plant Lotus Water fanwort 



Funding for Z. Sharip was provided by the Malaysian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment scholarship. The first author gratefully acknowledges the support from National Hydraulic Research Institute of Malaysia (NAHRIM) for permission to use their data and provision of financial assistance for the field surveys. We thank Juhaimi Jusoh and Ahmad Taqiyuddin Ahmad Zaki for assistance in acquisition of data and the coordination of financial and field support. We thank Dr. Marti J. Anderson for her statistical advice. Two anonymous reviewers contributed constructive and informative comments and suggestions.

Supplementary material

10530_2011_137_MOESM1_ESM.doc (119 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 119 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zati Sharip
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Shon S. Schooler
    • 4
  • Matthew R. Hipsey
    • 1
    • 5
  • Richard J. Hobbs
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Ecohydrology, School of Environmental Systems EngineeringThe University of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia
  2. 2.School of Plant BiologyThe University of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia
  3. 3.National Hydraulic Research Institute of MalaysiaMinistry of Natural Resources and EnvironmentSeri KembanganMalaysia
  4. 4.Lake Superior National Estuarine Research ReserveUniversity of Wisconsin-SuperiorSuperiorUSA
  5. 5.School of Earth and EnvironmentThe University of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia

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