Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Diversity, habit and habitat of aquatic vascular macrophytes of the western Patagonia (Aisén Region, Chile).

Abstract

We studied the abundance, phytogeographycal origin, biological spectrum and the habitats of the aquatic macrophyte flora in the limnic (lotic and lentic) wetlands and in salt marshes of the Aisén Region, Chile. We found 86 species of vascular macrophytes including in 54 genera and 33 families. Only 8 species are abundant (Myriophyllum quitense, Potamogeton stenostachys, Glyceria multiflora, Hippuris vulgaris, Marsippospermum grandiforum, Tetroncion magellanicum, Scirpus californicus and Gunnera magellanica), most of them occurring in swampy habitats from the river banks. Of the total species number, 73 are native and 13 introduced, indicating little human disturbance in those wetlands. The biological spectrum consists of 54 perennial herbs (hemicryptophytes) and 23 tall herbs with underwater rhizomes and aerial culms (cryptophytes). The tall perennial herbs (chamaephytes) are represented by 6 species and the annuals (therophytes) by 3. Sixty seven swampy emergent forms (helophytic) and 19 species of aquatic plants (submerged, with foating leaves and free foating hydrophytes) were collected. The wetlands with higher species richness were the lowland ponds with 44 species and streams with 37 species. Small stands of coastal marshes were the only brackish habitat studied here, containing 5 halophytes (Cotula coronopifolia, Puccinellia glaucescens, Triglochin concinna, Ruppia flifolia y Zannichellia palustris). We analyzed the historical development of the knowledge of the aquatic macrophytes in the Aisén Region, concluding that the most of the species had been prospected before. Only Veronica Anagallis-aquatica and Lycopus europaeus, can be considered as newly introduced neophytes, being the frst an invasive species. Finally, we discuss the results compared with those found in aquatic environments in other water bodies from northern parts of central Chile.