Relationship of nutrients in water with biomass and nutrient accumulation of submerged macrophytes of a tropical wetland



The paper describes monthly biomass, seasonal and annual net primary productivity and monthly and seasonal nutrient content of four submerged macrophytes in a lentic wetland situated in the campus of Banaras Hindu University. The seasonal variation of six nutrients (NO3 -N, PO4-P, K, Ca, Mg, Na) in water is described and their mean concentrations used in multiple regression equations to examine the relationship between nutrients in water, plant biomass and nutrient accumulation in plant body. Hydrilla verticillata (L.f.) Royle, Potamogeton crispus L., P. pectinatus L. and Aponogeton natans (L.) Engle and Krause are the constituent species. Plants show rapid growth in post-monsoon and pre-winter months. All the four species showed biomass accumulation in the rainy season. The highest rate of production in the submerged zone was 0.73 g m−2 d−1 and the minimum was 0.29 g m−2 d−1. Maximum annual production of any species was 69 g m−2 in P. pectinatus. In all the four species the nutrient concentration decreased in the following order: calcium > nitrogen > potassium > magnesium > sodium > phosphorus. Seasonal variation of nutrient content was dependent on the period of germination, growth and development of the species. Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium were higher in the season of growth of particular species and calcium was higher when plants matured. There was no definite trend for sodium, though magnesium varied with species. Uptake and accumulation of nutrients in submerged plants largely depend upon nutrient concentration of water, except nitrogen which was also dependent on biomas change. Sources of nutrient for plants are both sediment and water. Translocation of potassium from the overlying water to the mud by Hydrilla plants is possible as there is reduction in potassium concentration of water around Hydrilla.