The Importance Of Aquatic Macrophytes In The Aquatic Environment

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Aquatic macrophytes functions in several ways in the aquatic environment, they are critical to Niger Delta inland waters because they enhance the physical structure of the habitat which provides living space for small animals and play an important role in fisheries production. Macrophytes play a vital role in the aquatic environment and the lives of rural communities but unfortunately very little effort is being directed towards the conservation of these resources and these macrophytes can get out of control and create problems when they are not properly managed. This paper examines common aquatic macrophytes in Niger Delta in Nigeria with emphasis on benefits, problems and also proffers best practices for effectively managing them in Niger …show more content…
They serve as primary produces of oxygen through photosynthesis and provide a substrate for algae and shelter for many invertebrates. Macrophytes plays vital part of the chemical cycling in aquatic environment aquatic macrophytes are the corner stones of an aquatic environment and have the physiological ability of removing mineral nutrients and heavy metals (Uka et al 2009a). The study of aquatic macrophytes is an essential component of understanding a water body due to its important ecological role and its ability to characterize the water quality (Ghazan et al 2006). Aquatic macrophytes are important because they play prominent role in nutrient and heavy metal recycling of many aquatic ecosystem (Pip and Stepaniuk 1992). Heavy metals and other contaminates can be removed by microorganisms. It has been demonstrated that aquatic macrophytes such as Eichornia crassipes, Lemna spp. Salvinia spp, Typha spp and Azolla spp. has been utilized as a means of reducing nutrients levels of polluted water (Oki and Une, …show more content…
Non –native species may also develop large uncontrollable population when intentionally or accidentally introduced into areas where they have no natural enemies to check their growth. Most problems with aquatic macrophytes arise when growth becomes too dense. In addition, certain non – native plant species are extremely aggressive (invasive) and can take over large areas of aquatic habitat.
The floating mat of vegetation of macrophytes covers available sunlight from the water surface. The direct effect of this is low production in natural fish food (Phytoplankton – Zooplankton species) thus resulting in overall low fish productivity. The bloom of macrophyte vegetation result also in massive fish kills due to high oxygen demand and competition for available nutrients. These invasive aquatic macrophytes affect biodiversity as well as water quality (Uka et al 2009b).Submerged species can also spoil the gravel spawning beds of some fish (Salmonids in particular) and high densities of photosynthesizing macrophytes are capable of causing large fluctuations in oxygen, this can stress many fish species. Similarly, fish mortality may ensue when photosynthesis does not exceed respiration (under prolong hot and cloudy condition) thus resulting in oxygen

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