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Eutrophication impacts on a river macrophyte

By Matthew T O'Hare, Ralph T. Clarke, Michael J. Bowes, Claire Cailes, Paul Henville, Nicola Bissett, Caroline McGahey and Margaret Neal


The postulated relationship between eutrophication, enhanced standing macrophyte crop and flow impedance was assessed in 14 rivers across the UK. We sampled the July standing crop of Ranunculus subgenus Batrachium at 14 rivers across England and southern Scotland, at sites where there is a known relationship between standing crop and flow impedance. We relate standing crop to variation in carbon concentrations and to elevated phosphorus concentrations, using regression analysis. Standing crop increased significantly with P availability as soluble reactive phosphorus (filtered SRP) and total phosphorus (TP). Best subsets multiple regression analysis suggests that, based on this sample of sites, there is evidence that macrophyte biomass increases with SRP concentrations and also increases with the amount of carbon as HCO3 for a given concentration of SRP in the water. Thus eutrophication is found to increase the standing crop of a submerged aquatic plant in UK rivers. Current targets for P reduction may not be sufficient and managers should now also recognise that eutrophication can exacerbate flood risk by elevating macrophyte standing crop.\ud \u

Topics: Ecology and Environment
Year: 2010
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.aquabot.2009.11.001
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