Experiments on growth interactions between two invasive macrophyte species


Corresponding author; Fax +33472431141; E-mail barrat@pop.univ-lyon1.fr


Abstract. The success of invasive species has been attributed to the ability to displace other species by direct competition. We studied growth and possible competition between the two macrophyte species Elodea nuttallii and E. canadensis, because the former has been observed to replace the latter in the field. Additional experiments were conducted in aquaria with mixed plantings of Elodea species. Species growth was measured and competitive abilities of each species determined by applying the reciprocal yield model to mean plant weight and length. In monocultures the growth rates of the two species were similar, while in mixtures the growth rate of E. canadensis was significantly lower than that of E. nuttallii. E. canadensis was more sensitive to intraspecific than to interspecific neighbours, whereas E. nuttallii was indifferent to the presence of neighbours. Differential growth characteristics of Elodea species can explain the displacement of E. canadensis by E. nuttallii under eutrophic field conditions.