Competitive abilities of Lagarosiphon major (Ridley) Moss (invasive in Belgium) and native Ceratophyllum demersum L. were assessed experimentally in relation to sediment dredging. We mimicked these conditions by taking undisturbed sediment ('before dredging' treatment) and by using restored sediment where the uppermost nutrient rich top layer was removed ('after dredging' treatment). Both the species were allowed to grow for seven weeks in monocultures and mixed cultures at different planting densities. Overall, invasive L. major performed better than native C. demersum independent of the characteristics of the growth environment. L. major achieved a higher relative growth rate (RGR) in both treatments based on total length (0.17-0.21 week(-1)) and weight (0.10-0.19 week(-1)) compared to C. demersum (length: 0.04-0.07 week(-1); weight: 0.03-0.17 week(-1)). The better performance of L. major was due to a high plasticity under stressful conditions of low free CO(2) and high pH. Intraspecific competition and niche partitioning were observed between the two species indicating that species coexistence is favoured instead of competitive exclusion. L. major performed better in the 'after dredging' treatment. Consequently, we deduce that sediment dredging will not lead to a decline of the invasive L. major.
|Status||Published - 2011|