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A boat hitchhiker’s guide to survival: Cabomba caroliniana desiccation resistance and survival ability
- Bickel, Tobias O.
- Hydrobiologia 2015 v.746 no.1 pp. 123-134
- Cabomba, boats, hiking, invasive species, macrophytes, models, prediction, risk, survival rate, trailers, viability, wind speed
- Cabomba caroliniana is a submersed macrophyte that has become a serious invader. Cabomba predominantly spreads by stem fragments, in particular through unintentional transport on boat trailers (‘hitch hiking’). Desiccation resistance affects the potential dispersal radius. Therefore, knowledge of maximum survival times allows predicting future dispersal. Experiments were conducted to assess desiccation resistance and survival ability of cabomba fragments under various environmental scenarios. Cabomba fragments were highly tolerant of desiccation. However, even relatively low wind speeds resulted in rapid mass loss, indicating a low survival rate of fragments exposed to air currents, such as fragments transported on a boat trailer. The experiments indicated that cabomba could survive at least 3 h of overland transport if exposed to wind. However, even small clumps of cabomba could potentially survive up to 42 h. Thus, targeting the transport of clumps of macrophytes should receive high priority in management. The high resilience of cabomba to desiccation demonstrates the risk of continuing spread. Because of the high probability of fragment viability on arrival, preventing fragment uptake on boat trailers is paramount to reduce the risk of further spread. These findings will assist improving models that predict the spread of aquatic invasive macrophytes.