The effects of eutrophication on the growth and phenotypic performance of macrophytes have been widely studied. Experimental evidence suggests that an increase in the water nutrient level would promote the performance of several invasive free-floating macrophytes. However, few studies have focused on how a shift in water nutrient (nitrogen and phosphorus) stoichiometric regimes may influence the performance of invasive free-floating macrophytes. In the present study, two exotic invasive plant species, free-floating Eichhornia crassipes and Pistia stratiotes, were subjected to different water nutrient stoichiometric regimes, and their phenotypic performance was studied. We found that the two species converged in several resource use traits and diverged in lateral root length. This implied that their similarities in fitness-correlated traits and their underwater niche differentiation probably contribute to their stable coexistence in the field. Additionally, the eutrophic conditions in the different N:P regimes scarcely altered the performance of both species compared to their performance in the oligotrophic condition. Based on previous studies, we predicted that moderate eutrophication with slight overloading of nitrogen and phosphorus would not improve the performance of several invasive free-floating plants and thus would scarcely alter the invasive status of these species. However, moderate eutrophication may cause other problems, such as the growth of phytoplankton and algae and increased pollution in the water.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Adebayo AA, Briski E, Kalaci O, Hernandez M, Ghabooli S, Beric B, Chan FT, Zhan AB, Fifield E, Leadley T, MacIsaac HJ (2011) Water hyacinth ( Eichhornia crassipes ) and water lettuce ( Pistia stratiotes ) in the Great Lakes: playing with fire. Aquat Invasions 6(1):91–96
Adler PB, Salguero-Gómez R, Compagnoni A, Hsu JS, Ray-Mukherjee J, Mbeau-Ache C, Franco M (2014) Functional traits explain variation in plant life history strategies. P Natl Acad Sci USA 111(2):740–745
Barabás G, Michalska-Smith MJ, Allesina S (2016) The effect of intra- and interspecific competition on coexistence in multispecies communities. Am Nat 188(1):E1–E12
Cao T, Ni LY, Xie P, Xu J, Zhang M (2011) Effects of moderate ammonium enrichment on three submersed macrophytes under contrasting light availability. Freshwater Biol 56(8):1620–1629
Chase JM, Knight TM (2006) Effects of eutrophication and snails on Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) invasion. Biol Invasions 8(8):1643–1649
Chesson P (2000) Mechanisms of maintenance of species diversity. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 31:343–366
Chu CJ, Adler PB (2015) Large niche differences emerge at the recruitment stage to stabilize grassland coexistence. Ecol Monogr 85(3):373–392
Coetzee JA, Hill MP (2012) The role of eutrophication in the biological control of water hyacinth, Eichhornia crassipes, in South Africa. BioControl 57(2):247–261
Eckert CG (2001) The loss of sex in clonal plants. Evol Ecol 15(4–6):501–520
Elser JJ, Bracken MES, Cleland EE, Gruner DS, Harpole WS, Hillebrand H, Ngai JT, Seabloom EW, Shurin JB, Smith JE (2007) Global analysis of nitrogen and phosphorus limitation of primary producers in freshwater, marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Ecol Lett 10(12):1135–1142
Güsewell S (2005) High nitrogen:phosphorus ratios reduce nutrient retention and second-year growth of wetland sedges. New Phytol 166(2):537–550
Hipondoka MHT, Aranibar JN, Chirara C, Lihavha M, Macko SA (2003) Vertical distribution of grass and tree roots in arid ecosystems of Southern Africa: niche differentiation or competition? J Arid Environ 54(2):319–325
Kraft NJB, Godoy O, Levine JM (2015) Plant functional traits and the multidimensional nature of species coexistence. P Natl Acad Sci USA 112(3):797–802
Lasky JR, Sun IF, Su SH, Chen ZS, Keitt TH (2013) Trait-mediated effects of environmental filtering on tree community dynamics. J Ecol 101(3):722–733
Levine JM, HilleRisLambers J (2009) The importance of niches for the maintenance of species diversity. Nature 461:254–257
Li ZY, Xie Y (2002) Invasive alien species in China. China Forestry Publishing House, Beijing (in Chinese)
Lichtenthaler HK (1987) Chlorophylls and carotenoids: pigments of photosynthetic biomembranes. Method Enzymol 148:350–382
López-Bucio J, Cruz-Ramírez A, Herrera-Estrella L (2003) The role of nutrient availability in regulating root architecture. Curr Opin Plant Biol 6(3):280–287
Norby RJ, Gu LH, Haworth IC, Jensen AM, Turner BL, Walker AP, Warren JM, Weston DJ, Xu CG, Winter K (2017) Informing models through empirical relationships between foliar phosphorus, nitrogen and photosynthesis across diverse woody species in tropical forests of Panama. New Phytol 215(4):1425–1437
Nürnberg GK (1996) Trophic state of clear and colored, soft- and hardwater lakes with special consideration of nutrients, anoxia, phytoplankton and fish. Lake Reserv Manage 12(4):432–447
Pan XY, Villamagna AM, Li B (2012) Chapter 4: Eichhornia crassipes Mart. (Solms-Laubach) (water hyacinth). In: Francis RA (ed) A handbook of global freshwater invasive species. Earthscan, Abingdon, pp 47–56
Pérez-Harguindeguy N, Díaz S, Garnier E, Lavorel S, Poorter H, Jaureguiberry P, Bret-Harte MS, Cornwell WK, Craine JM, Gurvich DE, Urcelay C, Veneklaas EJ, Reich PB, Poorter L, Wright IJ, Ray P, Enrico L, Pausas JG, de Vos AC, Buchmann N, Funes G, Quétier F, Hodgson JG, Thompson K, Morgan HD, ter Steege H, Sack L, Blonder B, Poschlod P, Vaieretti MV, Conti G, Staver AC, Aquino S, Cornelissen JHC (2013) New handbook for standardised measurement of plant functional traits worldwide. Aust J Bot 61(3):167–234
Reddy KR, Agami M, Tucker JC (1990) Influence of phosphorus on growth and nutrient storage by water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes (Mart.) Solms) plants. Aquat Bot 37(4):355–365
Rejmánek M, Richardson DM, Higgins SI, Pitcairn MJ, Grotkopp E (2005) Ecology of invasive plants: state of the art. In: Mooney HA, Mack RN, McNeely JA, Neville LE, Schei PJ, Waage JK (eds) Invasive alien species: a new synthesis. Island Press, Washington, DC, p 104
Schindler DW (1977) Evolution of phosphorus limitation in lakes. Science 195:260–262
Schreiber U, Bilger W, Hormann H, Neubauer C (1998) Chlorophyll fluorescence as a diagnostic tool: basics and some aspects of practical relevance. In: Raghavendra AS (ed) Photosynthesis: a comprehensive treatise. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p 320
Violle C, Navas M, Vile D, Kazakou E, Fortunel C, Hummel I, Garnier E (2007) Let the concept of trait be functional! Oikos 116(5):882–892
Wang T, Hu JT, Miao LL, Yu D, Liu CH (2016) The invasive stoloniferous clonal plant Alternanthera philoxeroides outperforms its co-occurring noninvasive functional counterparts in heterogeneous soil environments – invasion implications. Sci Rep-UK 6:38036
Wang T, Hu JT, Liu CH, Yu D (2017) Soil type can determine invasion success of Eichhornia crassipes. Hydrobiologia 788(1):281–291
Wang T, Hu JT, Wang RQ, Yu D, Liu CH (2018) Tolerance and resistance facilitate the invasion success of Alternanthera philoxeroides in disturbed habitats: a reconsideration of the disturbance hypothesis in the light of phenotypic variation. Environ Exp Bot 153:135–142
Wilson JR, Holst N, Rees M (2005) Determinants and patterns of population growth in water hyacinth. Aquat Bot 81(1):51–67
Xie YH, Yu D (2003) The significance of lateral roots in phosphorus (P) acquisition of water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes). Aquat Bot 75(4):311–321
Xie YH, Wen MZ, Yu D, Li YK (2004) Growth and resource allocation of water hyacinth as affected by gradually increasing nutrient concentrations. Aquat Bot 79(3):257–266
Yang Y, Luo Y, Lu M, Schädel C, Han W (2011) Terrestrial C:N stoichiometry in response to elevated CO2 and N addition: a synthesis of two meta-analyses. Plant Soil 343(1–2):393–400
You WH, Yu D, Xie D, Yu LF, Xiong W, Han CM (2014) Responses of the invasive aquatic plant water hyacinth to altered nutrient levels under experimental warming in China. Aquat Bot 119:51–56
Yuan YF, Guo WH, Ding WJ, Du N, Luo YJ, Liu J, Xu F, Wang RQ (2013) Competitive interaction between the exotic plant Rhus typhina L. and the native tree Quercus acutissima Carr. in Northern China under different soil N:P ratios. Plant Soil 372(1–2):389–400
Zhan CW, Yu D, Wu ZH, Liu CH, Li ZQ (2001) The community ecology of aquatic plant in the water-land ecotone of Liangzi lake. Acta Phytoecol Sin 25(5):573–580 (in Chinese with English abstract)
Zhang HJ, Chang RY, Guo X, Liang XQ, Wang RQ, Liu J (2017) Shifts in growth and competitive dominance of the invasive plant Alternanthera philoxeroides under different nitrogen and phosphorus supply. Environ Exp Bot 135:118–125
The study was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31170339), the Special Foundation of National Science and Technology Basic Research (2013FY112300), the Science and Technology Project of Shandong Province (2014GZX217005, 2015FY210200), and the general financial grant from the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2017M622184).
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Responsible editor: Vitor Manuel Oliveira Vasconcelos
About this article
Cite this article
Wang, T., Hu, J., Wang, R. et al. Trait convergence and niche differentiation of two exotic invasive free-floating plant species in China under shifted water nutrient stoichiometric regimes. Environ Sci Pollut Res 26, 35779–35786 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-019-06304-6
- Stoichiometric regime
- Trait performance
- Niche differentiation
- Stable coexistence
- Invasive free-floating plants