Diversity and distribution of aquatic macrophytes with special reference to the invasive species in Barak Valley, Assam, Northeast India
Nami Prasad and Tapati Das
Aquatic macrophytes (AMs) play a crucial role in modulating the aquatic ecology and environment because of their diversity and abundance. Survey and documentation of AMs would help in identifying the species which are important from ecological (e.g. invasion) or economic (e.g. useful species) point of view. The present study examines the diversity and distribution patterns of AMs with special reference to invasive species in different aquatic systems of Barak Valley, Assam, Northeast India. A total of 567 aquatic systems comprising of flood plain lakes and wetlands, ponds, water-logged areas, marshy/swampy areas, canals, streams, and rivers have been surveyed. The study revealed the presence of 58 species of AMs belonging to 30 families. Around 38% of the species are invasive. Overall, the richness of both non-invasive and invasive species was higher in floodplain lakes and wetlands compared to other aquatic systems. The skewed patterns in richness and distribution of AMs in the region hints at interesting underlying ecological processes, which deserves further study. We feel that there is a necessity of formulating strategies to control/manage the invasive species in the region.
KEYWORDS: Aquatic macrophytes, invasive species, management, Barak valley, Assam.