Submersed Macrophyte Distribution and Function in the Tidal Freshwater Hudson River

Stuart Findlay, Cathleen Wigand, and W. Charles Nieder abstract In the tidal freshwater Hudson River submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) occupies on average 6 percent of the river area with much greater coverage in the mid-Hudson (Kingston - Hudson) and much lower areal coverage south of Hyde Park. The native water celery (Vallisneria americana) is by far the predominant species in terms of areal coverage but the invasive water chestnut (Trapa natans) attains a higher standing stock on a smaller area. Vallisneria is light-limited in all but the shallowest depths and produces sufficient oxygen to maintain super-saturated conditions in some plant beds for a large proportion of summertime daylight hours. SAV supports abundant and diverse invertebrate and fish faunas with distinct differences between Vallisneria and Trapa. Turbidity in Vallisneria is frequently greater than in the main channel in contrast to the baffling and enhanced sediment deposition generally expected in plant beds. Overall, SAV plays several important and unique roles in shaping the habitats and ecosystem functioning of the Hudson River.

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