Submerged macrophytes in Danish lakes: impact of morphological and chemical factors on abundance and species richness

Sondergaard M., Davidson T. A., Lauridsen T. L., Johansson L. S., Jeppesen E.

HYDROBIOLOGIA, vol.849, no.17-18, pp.3789-3800, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 849 Issue: 17-18
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s10750-021-04759-8
  • Journal Name: HYDROBIOLOGIA
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Animal Behavior Abstracts, Aqualine, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, Environment Index, Geobase, Pollution Abstracts, Public Affairs Index, Veterinary Science Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.3789-3800
  • Keywords: Macrophyte cover, Species richness, Boosted regression tree analyses, Chlorophyll a, Phosphorus, Nutrients, SHALLOW LAKES, AQUATIC VEGETATION, PHOSPHORUS, BIOMASS, EUTROPHICATION, PHYTOPLANKTON, COMMUNITY, NITROGEN, DRIVEN, LIMITATION
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: No


We analysed long-term monitoring data on submerged macrophytes and water chemistry from 666 Danish lakes > 1 hectare and mean depth < 3 m, encompassing a total of 1447 lake years. Our aim was to describe how plant cover (COV), plant volume inhabited (PVI) and species richness related to physical and chemical and environmental variables. Boosted regression tree (BRT) analyses revealed that chlorophyll a, Secchi depth and depth were the strongest predictors of COV and PVI. Chlorophyll had a strong negative effect up to 50 mu g/l, whereas the changes related to Secchi depth and depth were more gradual and covered more of the gradient. Macrophyte species richness was best predicted by lake area and alkalinity, with chlorophyll a, nutrients and colour having significant but less marked effects. For chlorophyll a, 78% of the observed variance could be explained by the BRT model, with the most powerful predictors being both phosphorus and nitrogen, but with significant additional effects of plant cover and alkalinity. Our analyses revealed limited direct effect of nutrients on macrophyte abundance, but an indirect hierarchical effect of nutrients mediated through chlorophyll a with additional interactive effects by plant cover itself, alkalinity, mean depth and colour.