Format

Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 Apr 1;100(7):4040-5. Epub 2003 Mar 12.

Floating plant dominance as a stable state.

Author information

1
Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management Group, Department of Environmental Sciences, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 8080, 6700 DD, Wageningen, The Netherlands. marten.scheffer@aqec.wkao.wau.nl

Abstract

Invasion by mats of free-floating plants is among the most important threats to the functioning and biodiversity of freshwater ecosystems ranging from temperate ponds and ditches to tropical lakes. Dark, anoxic conditions under thick floating-plant cover leave little opportunity for animal or plant life, and they can have large negative impacts on fisheries and navigation in tropical lakes. Here, we demonstrate that floating-plant dominance can be a self-stabilizing ecosystem state, which may explain its notorious persistence in many situations. Our results, based on experiments, field data, and models, represent evidence for alternative domains of attraction in ecosystems. An implication of our findings is that nutrient enrichment reduces the resilience of freshwater systems against a shift to floating-plant dominance. On the other hand, our results also suggest that a single drastic harvest of floating plants can induce a permanent shift to an alternative state dominated by rooted, submerged growth forms.

PMID:
12634429
PMCID:
PMC153044
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.0737918100
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center