, Volume 559, Issue 1, pp 169–181 | Cite as

Effects of Water Chestnut (Trapa natans) Beds on Water Chemistry in the Tidal Freshwater Hudson River

  • Meredith Hummel
  • Stuart FindlayEmail author
Primary Research Paper


Vegetated areas of rivers and estuaries are capable of affecting the concentration of dissolved and particulate matter in water masses traversing those plant beds. We examined whether different sizes of water chestnut (Trapa natans) beds in the Hudson River, USA, alter dissolved oxygen, nutrients and turbidity of water masses. Ebb–tide water was sampled from four water chestnut beds in the tidal freshwater portion of the Hudson River estuary and each site was sampled multiple times during the growing season and once following plant senescence. Water quality variables included dissolved oxygen, turbidity, dissolved organic carbon, and inorganic nutrients. Samples from the small beds (575 m2 and 624 m2) were compared with large beds (16 600 m2 and 24 820 m2). Dissolved oxygen of water flooding vegetated beds in the hour before high tide was 7.18±1.03 mg/l (mean±standard deviation) with a range of 5.5–9.8 mg/l throughout the growing season. Water samples collected as water ebbed from the plant beds showed that only the large beds had an effect on dissolved oxygen with the largest declines in oxygen exhibited by the largest bed. Decline of dissolved oxygen in the water ebbing from the largest bed averaged 1.5±0.4 mg/l/h with a minimum of 4.5 mg/l, equivalent to 54% of saturation, a level at which sensitive fauna are negatively affected. There were no significant relationships between bed size or plant presence and inorganic nutrients, turbidity or DOC. Ebb–tide nitrate was never lower than 87% of flood tide means. Effective management of invasive plants must consider both the variability in effects among plant beds and the areal coverage of plant bed sizes.


macrophytes exotic dissolved oxygen nutrients Hudson River turbidity 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abdelrhman, M. A. 2003Effects of eelgrass Zostera marina canopies on flow and transportMarine Ecology Progress Series2486783Google Scholar
  2. ALPKEM1991ALPKEM CorporationClackamasOregonGoogle Scholar
  3. Caraco, N. F., Cole, J. J. 2002Contrasting impacts of a native and alien macrophyte on dissolved oxygen in a large riverEcological Applications1214961509Google Scholar
  4. Caraco, N. F., Cole, J. J., Findlay, S. E. G., Fischer, D. T., Lampman, G. G., Pace, M. L., Strayer, D. L. 2000Dissolved oxygen declines in the Hudson River associated with the invasion of the zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha)Environmental Science and Technology3412041210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Clark, J. F., Simpson, H. J., Bopp, R. F., Deck, B. 1992Geochemistry and loading history of phosphate and silicate in the Hudson estuaryEstuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science34213233Google Scholar
  6. Coote, T. W., R. E. Schmidt & N. Caraco, 2001. Use of a periodically anoxic Trapa natans bed by fishes in the Hudson River. In Waldman, J. R. & W. C. Nieder (eds), Final Reports of the Tibor T. Polgar Fellowship Program, 2000. Hudson River Foundation, New York, Section IV, pp. 1–20.Google Scholar
  7. Crow, G. E., Hellquist, C. B. 2000Aquatic and Wetland Plants of Northeastern North America. Volume 1 of 2The University of Wisconsin PressMadison, WisconsinGoogle Scholar
  8. Davenport, G. E. 1879Trapa natansBulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club6352Google Scholar
  9. Findlay, S., Schoeberl, K., Wagner, B. 1989Abundance, composition and dynamics of the invertebrate fauna of a tidal freshwater wetlandJournal of the North American Benthological Society8140148Google Scholar
  10. Findlay, S., Sinsabaugh, R., Fischer, D., Franchini, P. 1998Sources of dissolved organic carbon supporting planktonic bacterial production in the tidal freshwater Hudson RiverEcosystems1227239CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Findlay, S., Pace, M., Lints, D. 1991Variability and transport of suspended sediment, particulate and dissolved organic carbon in the tidal freshwater Hudson RiverBiogeochemistry12149169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Frodge, J. D., Thamas, G. L., Pauley, G. B. 1990Effects of canopy formation by floating and submergent aquatic macrophytes on the water quality of two shallow Pacific Northwest lakesAquatic Botany38231248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. George, J. R. & K. T. Alben, 1999. Characteristics of dissolved organic carbon from Trapa natans wetlands and the Hudson River. In Nieder W. C. & J. R. Waldman (eds), Final reports of the Tibor T. Polgar Fellowship Program, 1998. Hudson River Foundation, New York, New York, Section III, pp. 50–107.Google Scholar
  14. Gilchrest, W. R. 1998A comparison of fish communities in an open and an occluded freshwater tidal wetland in the Hudson River estuaryBard College, Annandale-on-HudsonNew York29M.S. thesisGoogle Scholar
  15. Gleason, H. A., Cronquist, A. 1991Manual of Vascular Plants of the Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada2New York Botanical GardenBronx, New York910 Google Scholar
  16. Goldhammer A. & S. E. G. Findlay, 1988. Estimations of suspended material flux between a Trapa natans stand and the Hudson River Estuary. In Waldman J. R. & E. A. Blair (eds), Final Reports of the Tibor T. Polgar Fellowship Program, 1987. Hudson River Foundation, New York, New York, Section VIII, pp. 1–46.Google Scholar
  17. Groth, A. T., Lovett-Doust, L., Lovett-Doust, J. 1996Population density and module demography in Trapa natans (Trapaceae), an annual, clonal aquatic macrophyteAmerican Journal of Botany8314061415Google Scholar
  18. Hamashima, S. 1983Correlation of the flora of aquatic macrophytes with the chemical contents of water in the irrigation reservoirs of Tokai districtJapanese Journal of Limnology4415Google Scholar
  19. Juget, J., Rostan, J. C. 1973The effect of the macrophyte Trapa natans on the dynamics of a pond during the summer periodAnnals of Limnology91123Google Scholar
  20. Kadono, Y. 1982Occurrence of aquatic macrophytes in relation to pH, Ca++, Cl and conductivityJapanese Journal of Ecology323944Google Scholar
  21. Kaspati, V., Pomogyi, P. 1979Accumulation and release of nutrients by aquatic macrophytesSymposium of Biology in Hungary193342Google Scholar
  22. Kiviat, E. 1987Water chestnut (Trapa natans)Decker, D. J.Enck, J. W. eds. Exotic Plants with Identified Detrimental Impacts on Wildlife Habitats in New York StateCornell UniversityNew York3138Google Scholar
  23. Kiviat, E. 1993Under the spreading water chestnutNews From Hudsonia916Google Scholar
  24. Lampman, G. G., Caraco, N. F., Cole, J. J. 1999Spatial and temporal patterns of nutrient concentration and export in the tidal Hudson RiverEstuaries22285296Google Scholar
  25. Limburg, K. E., Moran, M. A., McDowell, W. H. 1986The Hudson River EcosystemSpringer-VerlagNew York329 Google Scholar
  26. Muenscher, W. C. 1944Aquatic Plants of the United StatesCornell University PressIthaca, New York374 Google Scholar
  27. Nakano, H., Seki, H. 1981Impact of nutrient enrichment in a water chestnut ecosystem at Takahama-Iri Bay of Lake KasumigauraWater, Air, and Soil Pollution15215227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Nieder, W. C., Barnaba, E., Findlay, S. E. G., Hoskins, S., Holochuck,  N., Blair, E. A. 2004Distribution and abundance of submerged aquatic vegetation and Trapa natans in the Hudson River EstuaryJournal of Coastal Research45150161Google Scholar
  29. Pelczarski, K. & R. E. Schmidt, 1999. Evaluation of a pop net for sampling fishes from water chestnut beds in the tidal Hudson River. In Blair E. A. & J. R. Waldman (eds), Final Reports of the Tibor T. Polgar Fellowship Program, 1990. Hudson River Foundation, New York, Section V, pp. 1–33.Google Scholar
  30. Sastroutomo, S. S. 1982Summer biomass of aquatic macrophytes in relation to sediment characteristics in Lake Aino-Nume, MiyagaJapanese Journal of Ecology324555Google Scholar
  31. Schmidt R. E. & E. Kiviat, 1988. Communities of larval and juvenile fish associated with water chestnut, watermilfoil and water-celery in the Tivoli Bays of the Hudson River (Report to the Hudson River Foundation, New York).Google Scholar
  32. Schmidt, R. E., Anderson, A. B., Limburg, K. 1989Dynamics of larval fish populations in a Hudson River tidal marshSmith, C. L. eds. Estuarine Research in the 1980sState University of New York PressAlbany, New York458475Google Scholar
  33. Simpson, H. J., D. E. Hammond, B. L. Deck & S. C. Williams, 1975. Nutrient budgets in the Hudson River estuary. In T. M. Church (ed.), Marine Chemistry in the Coastal Environment. American Chemical Society Series No. 18, pp. 619–635.Google Scholar
  34. Strayer, D. L., Lutz, C., Malcom, H. M., Munger, K., Shaw, W. 2003Invertebrate communities associated with a native (Vallisneria americana) and an alien (Trapa natans) macrophyte in a large riverFreshwater Biology4819381949CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Takamura, N., Kadono, Y., Fukushima, M., Nakagawa, M., Kim, B-H. O. 2003Effects of aquatic macrophytes on water quality and phytoplankton communities in shallow lakesEcological Research18381395CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Tsuchiya, T., Iwakuma, T. 1993Growth and leaf life-span of a floating leaved plant, Trapa natans L., as influenced by nitrogen influxAquatic Botany46317324CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Wetzel, R. G. 1969Factors influencing photosynthesis and excretion of dissolved organic matter by aquatic macrophytes in hard-water lakesInternational Vereinigung für Theoretische und Angewandte Limnologie177285Google Scholar
  38. Wetzel, R. G. 2001Limnology: Lake and River Ecosystems3Academic PressSan Diego, CAGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Ecosystem StudiesCoxsackieUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Ecosystem StudiesMillbrookUSA

Personalised recommendations