Macrophytes as indicators of the ecological status of a tropical rehabilitated wetland ecosystem: Application of multivariate statistics and Ecological State Macrophyte Index (ESMI)

Dimuthu Wijeyaratne, Aravinda Bellanthudawa

Abstract

The present study used the Ecological State Macrophyte Index (ESMI) and the multivariate statistical methods to assess the ecological status and the variation of macrophytes in a tropical wetland system. Six sites were selected from rehabilitated and non-rehabilitated areas of an urban tropical wetland and the water quality parameters (water pH, temperature, conductivity, total dissolved solids (TDS),  dissolved oxygen (DO), visibility, biological oxygen demand 5 days after incubation (BOD5), chemical oxygen demand (COD), nitrate, chlorophyll-a and total phosphorus concentrations), sediment quality parameters (pH, organic matter content, percentage sand, silt and clay content) and abundance of aquatic macrophytes were measured. Shannon Weiner diversity index, percentage vegetation under anthropo-pressure, macrophyte settlement rate and ESMI were calculated. Significant variations in the water and sediment quality parameters were observed and ten species of aquatic macrophytes were recorded. Salvinia melosta and Cypreus iria were recorded only from the non-rehabilitated sites. Although there was no significant difference in the percentage anthropo-pressure among study sites, the rehabilitated sites were displayed low anthropo-pressure. The sites in the non-rehabilitated area showed a significantly lower macrophyte settlement rate. ESMI and macrophyte abundance showed significant correlations with water quality parameters. Based on the results, it can be recommended that applications based on ESMI and multivariate statistics can be used to assess the ecological status of tropical wetlands. 

Keywords

Anthropo-pressure, Macrophyte settlement rate, Sri Lanka, Tropical wetlands.

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References

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