From introduction to nuisance growth: a review of traits of alien aquatic plants which contribute to their invasiveness

Abstract

Invasive alien aquatic plant species (IAAPs) cause serious ecological and economic impact and are a major driver of changes in aquatic plant communities. Their invasive success is influenced by both abiotic and biotic factors. Here, we summarize the existing knowledge on the biology of 21 IAAPs (four free-floating species, eight sediment-rooted, emerged or floating-leaved species, and nine sediment-rooted, submerged species) to highlight traits that are linked to their invasive success. We focus on those traits which were documented as closely linked to plant invasions, including dispersal and growth patterns, allelopathy and herbivore defence. The traits are generally specific to the different growth forms of IAAPs. In general, the species show effective dispersal and spread mechanisms, even though sexual and vegetative spread differs strongly between species. Moreover, IAAPs show varying strategies to cope with the environment. The presented overview of traits of IAAPs will help to identify potential invasive alien aquatic plants. Further, the information provided is of interest for developing species-specific management strategies and effective prevention measures.

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Acknowledgement

We heartily acknowledge the helpful comments of the editor S. Thomaz and two anonymous reviewers.

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Hussner, A., Heidbüchel, P., Coetzee, J. et al. From introduction to nuisance growth: a review of traits of alien aquatic plants which contribute to their invasiveness. Hydrobiologia (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-020-04463-z

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Keywords

  • Dispersal
  • Weed biology
  • Invasive aquatic plant species
  • Invasive plant traits