Water hyacinth Eichhornia crassipes (Mart.) Solms-Laubach dynamics and succession in the Nyanza Gulf of Lake Victoria (east Africa): implications for water quality and biodiversity conservation
No Thumbnail Available
Hindawi Publishing Corporation
This study, conducted in Nyanza Gulf of Lake Victoria, assessed ecological succession and dynamic status of water hyacinth. Results show that water hyacinth is the genesis of macrophyte succession. On establishment, water hyacinth mats are first invaded by native emergent macrophytes, Ipomoea aquatica Forsk., and Enydra fluctuans Lour., during early stages of succession. This is followed by hippo grass Vossia cuspidata (Roxb.) Griff. in mid- and late stages whose population peaks during climax stages of succession with concomitant decrease in water hyacinth biomass. Hippo grass depends on water hyacinth for buoyancy, anchorage, and nutrients. The study concludes that macrophyte succession alters aquatic biodiversity and that, since water hyacinth infestation and attendant succession are a symptom of broader watershed management and pollution problems, aquatic macrophyte control should include reduction of nutrient loads and implementing multifaceted approach that incorporates biological agents, mechanical/manual control with utilization of harvested weed for cottage industry by local communities.