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Comparative study of six emergent macrophyte species for controlling cyanobacterial blooms in a tropical reservoir

Mowe, Maxine A.D., Song, Yiluan, Sim, Darren Z.H., Lu, Joy, Mitrovic, Simon M., Tan, Hugh T.W., Yeo, Darren C.J.
Ecological engineering 2019 v.129 pp. 11-21
Chroomonas, Cylindrospermopsis, Ipomoea aquatica, Ludwigia adscendens, Pandanus amaryllifolius, Persicaria barbata, Pseudanabaena, Rhodomonas, Sphagneticola trilobata, Urochloa mutica, biomass, chlorophyll, community structure, macrophytes, phytoplankton, plant density, surface water, tropics
Interactions between macrophytes and phytoplankton have been studied extensively in temperate water bodies, but far less attention has been paid to those for emergent macrophytes in the tropics. We investigated the effects of six emergent macrophyte species (Brachiaria mutica, Ipomoea aquatica, Sphagneticola trilobata, Ludwigia adscendens, Pandanus amaryllifolius and Persicaria barbata) on the phytoplankton community of a tropical reservoir using ex situ experiments with multiple planting densities (Treatment 1: 0.108, Treatment 2: 0.24, Treatment 3: 0.40, Treatment 4: 0.58 g dry weight L−1) in 100-L mesocosms. Chlorophyll a (as a proxy of total phytoplankton biomass) and phytoplankton community structure were examined. The initial phytoplankton community (average chlorophyll a: 20.36 ± 0.69 µg L−1) was dominated by cyanobacteria: Planktolyngybya, Pseudanabaena and Cylindrospermopsis (average relative biovolume 0.68 ± 0.03). Over four weeks, L. adscendens (Treatments 3 and 4) and P. barbata (Treatments 2 to 4) significantly reduced chlorophyll a concentrations by 3.29–6.69 µg L−1 compared to the controls. Comparing species effects over four weeks for Treatment 4, P. barbata significantly lowered chlorophyll a concentrations compared to I. aquatica while there were no significant differences between all other species. All treatments of L. adscendens and P. barbata significantly reduced the relative biovolume of cyanobacteria in the phytoplankton communities by 0.19–0.39 compared to the controls. The highest-density treatments of all six macrophyte species led to significant shifts in the phytoplankton community structure by reducing the relative abundance of filamentous cyanobacteria (Planktolyngbya, Pseudanabaena) and/or increasing the relative abundance of cryptomonads (Chroomonas, Rhodomonas). This study shows the potential of emergent macrophyte species, especially L. adscendens and P. barbata, to reduce total phytoplankton biomass and cyanobacterial dominance in tropical water bodies, and a range of plant densities which were effective.