Ecological impacts of the aquatic invasive Elodea nuttallii in Northern Ireland
The invasive aquatic plant species Elodea nuttallii (Hydrocharitaceae) (EPPO List of IAP) can pose a significant risk to European freshwater systems based on its current distribution, rate of spread and potentially high biomass accumulation. E. nuttallii was first introduced to the EPPO region in 1939 and has since spread rapidly replacing the closely related non-native Elodea canadensis. Using an ecosystem wide sampling approach, a study was conducted in Northern Ireland to evaluate the impact of E. nuttallii on physicochemical parameters (dissolved oxygen and pH), algae and invertebrate and macrophyte communities. Dissolved oxygen was higher in E. nuttallii stands compared to native plant communities though there was no difference in pH. The richness of periphyton was lower on E. nuttallii compared to native macrophytes. The invertebrate composition differed in communities associated with E. nuttallii compared to similar native plant species. However, total biomass and species richness did not differ between plant communities. The present study shows that E. nuttallii can significantly alter freshwater communities.
Kelly R, Harrod C, Maggs CA, Reid N (2015) Effects of Elodea nuttallii on temperate freshwater plants, microalgae and invertebrates: small differences between invaded and uninvaded areas. Biological Invasions 17, 2123-2138.