The current status of exotic freshwater vascular plants in Australia - a systematic description

Guyo Duba Gufu, Michelle R. Leishman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Freshwater systems are considered particularly vulnerable to human impact, through habitat modification, changes to water regimes and quality, invasion by exotic species and climate change. Using various records, we conducted a descriptive analysis of the naturalised freshwater plant species in Australia. There are 63 freshwater plant species belonging to 45 genera and 26 families naturalised in Australia with the dominant families being Cyperaceae,
Poaceae and Plantaginaceae. More than 40% of these species are categorised as either invasive or declared weeds, the majority being perennial wetland marginal plants. They originated from all the inhabited continents with most of the species being native to Europe, South America and North America. The greatest number of species are currently found in New South Wales (90%), Queensland (68%) and Victoria (65%); the ornamental aquarium plant trade was identified as the main introduction pathway. Most species are clonal plants with flexible modes of reproduction and multiple dispersal vectors. We conclude that exotic plant species are now an important component of Australia’s freshwater systems and that ongoing monitoring of their status, distribution and impact should be a high priority in light of the increasing influence of anthropogenic factors including climate change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-133
Number of pages11
JournalCunninghamia
Volume18
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018

Keywords

  • aquatic
  • ecosystem
  • flora
  • invasive
  • native
  • naturalised
  • ornamental

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