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Journal Articles Journal of Environmental Management Year : 2023

Short-term effects of macrophyte removal on aquatic biodiversity in rivers and lakes

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Mass development of macrophytes is an increasing problem in many aquatic systems worldwide. Dense mats of macrophytes can negatively affect activities like boating, fishing, or hydropower production and one of the management measures often applied is mechanical removal. In this study, we analyzed the effect of mechanical macrophyte removal on phytoplankton, zooplankton, and macroinvertebrate (pelagic and benthic samples) assemblages. Our study covered five sites in four countries in Europe and Africa with highly variable characteristics. In all sites, dense mats of different macrophyte species (Juncus bulbosus in a river in Norway; a mix of native macrophytes in a German river, Elodea nuttallii in a lake in Germany, Ludwigia spp. in a French lake and Pontederia crassipes in a South African lake) are problematic and mechanical removal was applied. In every country, we repeated the same BACI (Before-After-Control-Impact) design, including "before", "one week after", and "six weeks after" sampling in a control and an impact section. Repeating the same experimental design at all sites allowed us to disentangle common effects across all sites from site-specific effects. For each taxonomic group, we analyzed three structural and three functional parameters, which we combined in a scoring system. Overall, the removal of macrophytes negatively affected biodiversity, in particular, of zooplankton and macroinvertebrate assemblages. In contrast, plant removal had positive effects on the phytoplankton assemblages. Effects were more pronounced one week after removal than six weeks after. Consequently, we suggest a stronger consideration of the effect of plant removal on biodiversity to arrive at more sustainable management practices in the future.
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Dates and versions

hal-03827323 , version 1 (24-10-2022)



Benjamin Misteli, Alexandrine Pannard, Eirin Aasland, Sarah Faye Harpenslager, Samuel Motitsoe, et al.. Short-term effects of macrophyte removal on aquatic biodiversity in rivers and lakes. Journal of Environmental Management, 2023, 325, pp.116442. ⟨10.1016/j.jenvman.2022.116442⟩. ⟨hal-03827323⟩
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