What are Macrophytes?

  • A macrophyte is an aquatic plant that grows in or near water and is either emergent, submergent, or floating, and includes helophytes (a plant that grows in marsh, partly submerged in water, so that it regrows from buds below the water surface).
  • In lakes and rivers macrophytes provide cover for fish and substrate for aquatic invertebrates, produce oxygen, and act as food for some fish and wildlife.


Role of Macrophytes

  • A decline in a macrophyte community may indicate water quality problems and changes in the ecological status of the water body.
  • Such problems may be the result of excessive turbidity, herbicides, or salinization.
  • Conversely, overly high nutrient levels may create an overabundance of macrophytes, which may in turn interfere with lake processing.


What are the functions in ecology?

  • Macrophytes perform many ecosystem functions in aquatic ecosystems and provide services to human society.
  • One of the important functions performed by macrophyte is uptake of dissolve nutrients (N and P) from water.
  • Macrophytes are widely used in constructed wetlands around the world to remove excess N and P from polluted water.
  • Beside direct nutrient uptake, macrophytes indirectly influence nutrient cycling, especially N cycling through influencing the denitrifying bacterial functional groups that are inhabiting on roots and shoots of macrophytes. 
  • Macrophytes promote the sedimentation of suspended solids by reducing the current velocities, impede erosion by stabilising soil surfaces. 
  • Macrophytes also provide spatial heterogeneity in otherwise unstructured water column.
  • Habitat complexity provided by macrophytes like to increase the richness of taxonomy and density of both fish and invertebrates.

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