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During the past 60 yr, sightings of aquatic macrophyte species in geographic regions where they had previously not been found have occurred with increasing frequency, apparently due to both greater dispersal of the plants as a result of human activities as well as better documentation of plant distribution. Intercontinental invasions, such as Myriophyllum spicatum and Hydrilla into North America, Elodea canadensis into Europe and Elodea nuttallii, Egeria densa and Cabomba caroliniana into Japan, have generally been well documented. However, the spread of an exotic species across a continent after its initial introduction (e.g., Potamogeton crispus in North America) or the expansion of a species native to a continent into hitherto unexploited territory (e.g.,the expansion of the North American native Myriophyllum heterophyllum into New England) have received little attention. Natural declines in aquatic macrophyte communities have also received little scientific study although there are many accounts of macrophyte declines. The best-documented example comes from the marine literature where extensive declines of eelgrass (Zostera) occurred in the 1930s along the Atlantic coast due to a pathogenic marine slime mold (''wasting disease''). The aim of this workshop was to identify examples of invasions or natural declines of aquatic macrophyte species throughout the world and assess the importance of environmental factors in their control. Forty-five scientists and aquatic plant managers from ten countries participated in the workshop. Eleven of the participants contributed written evaluations of species invasions and declines in their geo-graphic region. These were distributed to registered participants prior to the meeting and served as the starting-point of workshop discussions. To address the topics raised in the working papers, the participants divided into four working groups to evaluate: 1. Environmental controls of species invasions. 2. Biotic controls of species declines. 3. Abiotic controls of species declines. 4. Impact of management practices on macrophyte invasions or declines. Each working group was asked to identify existing evidence, the need for additional evidence and management implications of their topics and then requested to discuss their findings with the entire workshop at the conclusion of discussions.
Additional Publication Details
Evaluation of invasions and declines of submersed aquatic macrophytes