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Hydrobiologia

, Volume 843, Issue 1, pp 107–123 | Cite as

Species-specific fragmentation rate and colonization potential partly explain the successful spread of aquatic plants in lowland streams

  • Patrick HeidbüchelEmail author
  • Maria Sachs
  • Nils Stanik
  • Andreas Hussner
Primary Research Paper

Abstract

The vegetative spread potential of aquatic plant species is largely based on the quantity of dispersed plant fragments (propagule pressure) and their potential for regrowth and establishment, i.e., fragment regeneration and colonization. In streams, fragment dispersal is of particular significance as the exposure of plants to flow facilitates fragmentation and downstream drift of fragments. We conducted field investigations to quantify the relevance of fragment dispersal and the species-specific propagule pressure due to fragmentation in five small to medium-sized German streams. These field surveys were combined with determination of the potential for regeneration/colonization of fragments collected in the field indicated by relative root formation under standardized conditions. In general, the number of drifting fragments tended to increase with larger stream size. We documented species-specific differences in fragmentation rate, which contributed to weak correlations between the number of drift units and specific plant cover within four streams. The overall likelihood for root formation increased significantly with increasing fragment size and was highest for the invasive Elodea nuttallii (70% of fragments). We conclude that the fragment dispersal capacity in streams is highly species-specific and that propagule pressure alone cannot explain the successful spread of invasive species like Myriophyllum heterophyllum.

Keywords

Aquatic macrophytes Fragment dispersal Hydrochory Invasive species Propagule pressure Regeneration 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work was financially supported by the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU, Grant Numbers 20016/450, PH and 20016/464, NS). We thank the Editor and two Anonymous Reviewers for comments that helped to improve the manuscript.

Supplementary material

10750_2019_4041_MOESM1_ESM.docx (15 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 15 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Photosynthesis and Stress Physiology of PlantsHeinrich-Heine-UniversityDüsseldorfGermany
  2. 2.General Ecology, Institute for ZoologyUniversity of CologneCologneGermany
  3. 3.Department of Landscape and Vegetation Ecology, Faculty of Architecture, Urban Planning and Landscape Architecture (ASL)University of KasselKasselGermany
  4. 4.Förderverein Feldberg-Uckermärkische-Seenlandschaft e.V.TemplinGermany

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