Eutrophic water or fertile sediment: which is more important for the growth of invasive aquatic macrophyte Myriophyllum aquaticum?
Invasive macrophyte Myriophyllum aquaticum is capable of assimilating nutrients from both the sediments and the water column. However, which is the major source of nutrients supporting M. aquaticum growth under various nutrient regimes has not been well documented. Here we conducted a two-factorial outdoor experiment (three levels of nutrient loading and two types of sediments) from 23 May to 27 June 2016, to assess M. aquaticum responses to different nutrient levels in the water column and the sediment. Results showed that concentrations of total nitrogen, total phosphorus and chlorophyll a in the water column increased in the treatment groups, but decreased slightly in the control group (nutrient-poor sediment and no nutrient addition). Sediment type had a significant effect on the growth M. aquaticum, while there were no significant effects of nutrient loading levels and the interactions between the two factors. Mean relative growth rate, mean plant height, mean stem diameter, the number of lateral branches and roots in the nutrient-rich sediment treatments were 1.6, 1.2, 1.6, 3.2 and 5.9 folds greater than in the nutrient-poor sediment treatments, respectively. These results suggest that nutrient-rich sediment has a positive effect on the growth of M. aquaticum. This study reveals possible expansion mechanism of the exotic M. aquaticum in China, and may provide valuable information on the ecological restoration of eutrophic freshwaters.