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Front. Plant Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fpls.2019.00144

Greater performance of exotic Elodea nuttallii in response to water level may make it a better invader than exotic Egeria densa during winter and spring

 yalin wang1, xiuwen chen1, junchu liu1,  yaping hong1, qiankun he1, dan yu1 and  Chunhua Liu1*
  • 1Wuhan University, China

The strategy of producing rapid initial growth and establishing early in the growing season is important, and it is employed by invasive macrophytes. Elodea nuttallii and Egeria densa, two Hydrocharitaceae species, became weeds after invading many countries in recent years. Comparative studies on their invasive traits in relation to native species during winter and spring are limited. In the present study, we compared the growth performance of these two exotic species with a perennial native species Potamogeton maackianus under different water depths (1 m, 2 m and 3 m) during winter (January and February) and spring (March and April). Three morphological traits (shoot number, root number and shoot length), total biomass, relative growth rate (RGR) and two physiological photosynthetic traits (total chlorophyll content and the maximum quantum yield of PSⅡ (Fv/Fm)) were measured for each macrophyte. All three species could overwinter as entire leafy plants. Biomass, RGR, morphological traits and physiological traits were all different among species. However, water depths had a significant effect only on morphological traits. At all water depths, E. nuttallii had significantly higher values for morphological traits, total biomass and RGR than P. maackianus, while E. densa had significantly fewer value roots and a lower total chlorophyll content than P. maackianus. Except for Fv/Fm at a 3 m water depth, all morphological and physiological photosynthetic traits, biomass and RGR of E. nuttallii were all significantly higher than those of E. densa. In addition, a large amount of adventitious roots developed from E. nuttallii but not from the other two species. These results indicate that the advantages of E. nuttallii to grow in winter and spring may make it more prone to expansion in China than E. densa.

Keywords: invasive, Water depth, morphological, Submerged, Photosynthesis

Received: 31 Jul 2018; Accepted: 28 Jan 2019.

Edited by:

Te CAO, Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China

Reviewed by:

Wei Li, Nanchang Institute of Technology, China
Heyun Wang, Hubei University of Technology, China  

Copyright: © 2019 wang, chen, liu, hong, he, yu and Liu. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Chunhua Liu, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China, liuchh@163.com