The catchment areas of transboundary streams in the Netherlands have been subject to increasing agricultural and industrial activities over the past decades. To evaluate the effects of these activities on the aquatic vegetation, a study has been carried out in 28 Dutch transboundary lowland streams. Recent data on distribution of 58 aquatic plant species and their growth forms were compared with historical data and were correlated with abiotic variables. Most of these streams lost species that are characteristic for streams and are sensitive to turbidity, eutrophication and pollution (e.g. Potamogeton alpinus, P. polygonifolius, P. densus, Ranunculus peltatus ssp. heterophyllus, Callitriche stagnalis and Myriophyllum alterniflorum.) Species, not common in streams but tolerant to turbidity, eutrophication or pollution (e.g. Potamogeton trichoides, Elodea nuttallii) appeared in many streams or increased in abundance. There was also a shift in growth forms: submerged species decreased or were replaced by emergent/floating-leaved species. Correspondence analysis was carried out to study the relation between the observed changes and the abiotic characteristic of the streams. The magnitude of the shift in species composition was positively correlated with the PO4 3- concentration and pH (which was highly correlated with Cd2+) of the water. This leads to the hypothesis that increased input of sewage, agricultural and industrial water causes a change in species composition and main growth forms of aquatic plant species in lowland streams.
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Mesters, C.M.L. Shifts in macrophyte species composition as a result of eutrophication and pollution in Dutch transboundary streams over the past decades. Journal of Aquatic Ecosystem Health 4, 295–305 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00118010
- transboundary streams
- aquatic macrophytes
- heavy metals