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Effects of salinity and nutrients on water hyacinth and its biological control agent, Neochetina bruchi

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Abstract

Water hyacinth, Eichhornia crassipes (Mart.) Solms (Commelinales: Pontederiaceae), is an important aquatic weed worldwide. Previous studies demonstrate that releases of Neochetina bruchi Hustache (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) provide biological control in many locations, but not all. Notably, N. bruchi were unsuccessful at regulating water hyacinth in tidal brackish waters. Abiotic factors, including salinity and nutrients, affect water hyacinth growth, but little is known about the impact of salinity on weevil survival. We hypothesized that N. bruchi has a relatively low salinity tolerance. In a mesocosm experiment, we assessed weed growth in response to a range of salinity and nutrient concentrations. In a laboratory, we assessed adult N. bruchi mortality in response to various salinity concentrations. Results indicate that increasing nutrient concentration increases weed growth. When both nutrient and salinity levels were varied, nutrients increased leaf count, but not biomass, while salinity reduced growth and increased mortality. Increasing salinity concentrations increased adult weevil mortality; required concentrations were higher than that for weeds. Thus, these results did not provide support for the suggested hypothesis. Potential effects of salinity via other exposures to weevils need to be investigated. Elucidating abiotic factors important for weed growth and weevil survival may increase effectiveness of water hyacinth management practices.

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  • 24 June 2020

    Due to an unfortunate turn of events, the maiden name of the third author was displayed in the original publication and it should have read Cindy R. Kron. The original article has been corrected and the proper representation of the authors’ names and their affiliation is also listed here.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Dr. Daniel Klittich and Robert Starnes from the University of California Davis for assembling the mesocosm and evaporative cooler for the water hyacinth experiments. We thank Machiko Murdock for field and laboratory assistance. Additionally, we thank Dr. Christian Nansen for experimental design assistance, Dr. Paul Pratt for discussion and direction, and Dr. Jay Rosenheim for editing assistance. This work was supported by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Delta Region Areawide Aquatic Weed Project [https://ucanr.edu/sites/DRAAWP/].

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The original version of this article was revised: the surname of the third author appeared incorrectly as it should have read Cindy R. Kron.

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Bick, E., de Lange, E.S., Kron, C.R. et al. Effects of salinity and nutrients on water hyacinth and its biological control agent, Neochetina bruchi. Hydrobiologia 847, 3213–3224 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-020-04314-x

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