Effect of Three Emergent Macrophyte Species on Nutrient Retention in Aquatic Environments under Excess Nutrient Loading

Nikolakopoulou, MyrtoArgerich, A.Bernal, Susana Gacia, Esperança Ribot, MiquelMartí, Eugènia Sorolla, AlbertSabater, Francesc. Environmental Science and Technology : doi:10.1021/acs.est.0c03216 (2020)  DIGITAL CSIC

Emergent macrophyte species selection is critical for the effectiveness of nature-based engineered solutions aiming to address excess nutrient concentrations in freshwater ecosystems. Yet, the mechanisms with which macrophytes enhance nutrient retention need to be further understood. Here, we compared nutrient retention among 12 artificial flumes fed with effluents from a wastewater treatment plant and subjected to four treatments: absence of macrophytes (control) and presence of three different macrophyte species (Iris pseudacorus L., Phragmites australis L., and Schoenoplectus lacustris L.). We estimated the net and gross nutrient uptake based on the longitudinal profiles of ambient concentrations and on pulse injections of ammonium (NH4 +) and soluble reactive phosphorus. Further, we investigated the influence of subsurface hydrological retention, attributed to the architectural differences in the roots of these macrophytes, on nutrient retention. Results showed a species-specific effect of macrophytes on nutrient retention and confirmed root-associated subsurface hydrological retention as a driving factor. Schoenoplectus showed both high net and gross NH4 + uptake, thereby being the most effective species to address N loading, compared to Iris and Phragmites. This work contributes to improve our mechanistic understanding of the role of emergent macrophytes on nutrient retention in aquatic environments.