Invasion of Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) Is Associated with Decline in Macrophyte Biodiversity in an Ethiopian Rift-Valley Lake—Abaya

ECSU Author/Contributor (non-ECSU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Eyualem Abebe, Professor (Creator)
Elizabeth City State University (ECSU )
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Abstract: Macrophytes play critical ecological role in inland water bodies, especially in shallow systems. Water hyacinth ( Eichhornia crassipes ) is an invasive plant species introduced to Ethiopian water bodies around the mid 20th century with recently exacerbated devastating ecological and economic consequences. Here we report the impact of the invasive plant species on macrophyte species assemblage and biodiversity in Lake Abaya, southwestern Ethiopia. We compared four sites in Lake Abaya, two hyacinth infested and two non-infested, each site consisting of 15 plots. Our results showed that water hyacinth affects the macrophyte community composition, abundance and diversity negatively. Even though some macrophyte species from the Poaceae and Cyperaceae families appear to coexist with the alien plant, the invasive species has reduced macrophyte abundance and diversity at the infested sites, and in some cases changed the community to nearly monotypic flora. Our data affirm that water hyacinth has the potential to alter macrophyte composition, abundance and diversity in the wider Ethiopian aquatic ecosystems. A broad & closer, systematic and comprehensive look at the short and long term consequences of its expanding invasion within the framework of specific local environmental, ecological and societal conditions is long-overdue.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2017
Eicchornia crassipus

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