Interspecific Competition Between Hygrophila polysperma and Ludwigia repens, Two Species of Importance in the Comal River, Texas
Description: Hygrophila polysperma is a plant native to Asia that has been introduced into the Comal River, TX and is thriving while Ludwigia repens, a species native to the river appears to be declining. Both plants have similar morphologies and occupy similar habitats in the river. Two plant competition experiments were conducted to examine the competitive interactions between the two species. First, an experimental design was developed in which established Ludwigia plants were 'invaded' by sprigs of Hygrophila to determine if established Ludwigia populations would be negatively impacted by invasion. The second experiment focused on establishment and growth of sprigs of each species under three competition scenarios. Results show that the continued growth of well-established Ludwigia plants was significantly depressed by the invasion of Hygrophila in comparison with those that had not been invaded. Furthermore, the growth of Hygrophila sprigs was uninhibited by the presence of Ludwigia, but the presence of Hygrophila negatively impacted the growth of Ludwigia sprigs. There was no difference in the growth of Hygrophila sprigs whether planted alone, with Ludwigia sprigs or even if planted into stands of established Ludwigia.
Date: May 1999
Creator: Francis, Matthew D.