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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 106429, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1100/2012/106429
Research Article

Water Hyacinth Eichhornia crassipes (Mart.) Solms-Laubach Dynamics and Succession in the Nyanza Gulf of Lake Victoria (East Africa): Implications for Water Quality and Biodiversity Conservation

1Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute, P.O. Box 1881, Kisumu 40100, Kenya
2Big Valley Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians, 2726 Mission Rancheria Road, Lake Port, CA 95453-9637, USA
3Lake Victoria Basin Commission, P.O. Box 1510, Kisumu 40100, Kenya
4Maseno University, P.O. Box Private Bag Maseno, Kenya

Received 11 October 2011; Accepted 2 November 2011

Academic Editors: A. Bosabalidis and B. S. Chauhan

Copyright © 2012 John Gichuki et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

This study, conducted in Nyanza Gulf of Lake Victoria, assessed ecological succession and dynamic status of water hyacinth. Results show that water hyacinth is the genesis of macrophyte succession. On establishment, water hyacinth mats are first invaded by native emergent macrophytes, Ipomoea aquatica Forsk., and Enydra fluctuans Lour., during early stages of succession. This is followed by hippo grass Vossia cuspidata (Roxb.) Griff. in mid- and late stages whose population peaks during climax stages of succession with concomitant decrease in water hyacinth biomass. Hippo grass depends on water hyacinth for buoyancy, anchorage, and nutrients. The study concludes that macrophyte succession alters aquatic biodiversity and that, since water hyacinth infestation and attendant succession are a symptom of broader watershed management and pollution problems, aquatic macrophyte control should include reduction of nutrient loads and implementing multifaceted approach that incorporates biological agents, mechanical/manual control with utilization of harvested weed for cottage industry by local communities.