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Assessment of the tolerance range of salinity for invasive waterweed Elodea canadensis Michaux by parameters of water-salt homeostasis


A submerged aquatic plant Elodea canadensis is highly invasive in Eurasia and has a very high ability to spread within the water ecosystems. There is currently no data on the tolerance range of salinity in which E. canadensis can survive. This makes it difficult to assess the possible distribution range of this important invasive species under natural conditions and to predict the possibility of its introduction into new water bodies. The aim of the study is to evaluate the tolerance salinity range for E. canadensis by the parameters of water-salt homeostasis. Here we show that the tolerance range of salinity for E. canadensis is 0.0001–6 g/L NaCl. Within the tolerance salinity range E. canadensis maintains the parameters of water-salt homeostasis within physiological limits, as well as carries out photosynthesis and growth. The upper limit of the salinity tolerance range is determined by the pattern of regulation of the potassium concentration in the body. At salinities above 6 g/L NaCl, a decrease in the concentration of potassium in the body below physiological values is observed, along with a sharp violation of the ratio of Na/K concentration, lack of growth and photosynthesis, and loss of green color of leaves. The optimal salinity range for E. canadensis is 0.009 (fresh water)—1.2 g/L NaCl, at which an increase in dry mass and the largest growth were observed. The critical salinity zone for elodea is 2.4–6 g/L NaCl, at which a decrease in the growth rate of the main and lateral shoots is observed. E. canadensis can inhabit and develop only in those water bodies where the salinity of the water is within the tolerance range. Based on the obtained results and the availability of data on salinity in various water bodies, it is possible to estimate the boundaries of areal of E. canadensis in natural conditions, and to make a prediction about the possibilities of its introduction into brackish lakes, river estuaries, coastal brackish waters of the seas, which is especially important in the current conditions of the ongoing salinization of water bodies due to various factors.

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The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.


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This research was performed in the framework of the state assignment: theme No. 121051100099-5 and was funded by the Tyumen Oblast Government, as a part of the West-Siberian Interregional Science and Education Center’s project no. 89-DON (2). We declare that we have no conflict of interest and no financial interest in the publication of this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Vladimir I. Martemyanov.

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Martemyanov, V.I., Tikhonenkov, D.V. Assessment of the tolerance range of salinity for invasive waterweed Elodea canadensis Michaux by parameters of water-salt homeostasis. Biol Invasions (2022).

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  • Canadian waterweed
  • Elodea
  • Invasive species
  • Salinity tolerance range
  • Sodium
  • Potassium