Elodeid species as nursery beds for the successful seed restoration of Vallisneria spiralis L.
Submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) is often difficult to restore due to their low seedling survival rates. Therefore, we hypothesized that the elodeid macrophytes serve as effective “nursery” areas to promote success for seedlings of other SAV. However, the high density of the elodeid community may inhibit the establishment of other SAV. An experiment was conducted to explore this “nursery effect” as a restoration approach to increase the success of seed restoration. Two elodeid species were pre-planted into mesocosms to create three levels of “nursery beds” i.e., bare, sparse (approx. 100 g m⁻²) and dense (approx. 200 g m⁻²). Seeds of Vallisneria spiralis were then placed into these beds to test the seed germination and growth of V. spiralis seedlings. After three months, seed germination was lower in the bare treatment than in the sparse and dense treatments. The growth of V. spiralis seedlings was greater in the sparse treatment than in the bare and dense treatments. These results revealed that the established elodeid bed had a positive effect on the seed restoration of V. spiralis but that the restoration efficiency was significantly reduced by the high-density cover of the elodeid community.
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