Morphological and Genetic Variability of Myriophyllum spicatum in Different Shallow Water Bodies of Hungary

Abstract

Deteriorating environments in shallow waters place significant pressure on aquatic plants. To estimate the morphological and genetic diversity of submerged macrophytes at 5 sites characterized by varying degrees of human impact, Myriophyllum spicatum L. was studied. Sediment nitrogen concentrations were found to be significantly correlated with the morphological properties of M. spicatum: the site with high sediment nitrogen concentration had 5 to 10 times larger, but rather uniform (low morphological variability) plants, while the site with the least nitrogen in the sediment had smaller M. spicatum plants that were 4 times more variable than the larger plants. Nevertheless, genetic variability of the studied plants showed no response to nutrient loading in the shallow lakes. The adverse environmental conditions therefore seem not to have affected the genetic material of the sampled plants, thus the large morphological variability observed in association with the nitrogen poor sites was predominantly a result of plastic reactions of M. spicatum to environmental conditions.

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Acknowledgements

This project was supported by a grant from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences OTKA/NKTH CNK 80140. The authors gratefully acknowledge Stephanie C. J. Palmer for her help with English.

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Correspondence to Viktor R. Tóth.

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Tóth, V.R., Endre, G., Kovács, S. et al. Morphological and Genetic Variability of Myriophyllum spicatum in Different Shallow Water Bodies of Hungary. Wetlands 37, 351–362 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13157-016-0875-z

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Keywords

  • Submerged macrophytes
  • Eutrophication
  • Morphological variability
  • Biodiversity
  • Genetic variability