PhD student Simona Paolacci has published a paper entitled â€œA comparative study of the nutrient responses of the invasive duckweed
Lemna minuta and the native, co-generic species
Lemna minorâ€ in the journal â€œAquatic Botanyâ€ (Paolacci, S., Harrison, S. and Jansen, M.A.K, 2016.
134, pp.47-53). [caption id="attachment_188" align="aligncenter" width="640"]
Lemna minuta (right) and Lemna minor (left)[/caption]
Simona is working to elucidate the reasons behind the invasiveness of the alien duckweed
Lemna minuta in Ireland, as well as major parts of Europe. This American species was first detected in France in 1965. It has now spread throughout much of Europe, often displacing native
Lemna minor. One hypothesis to explain the success of alien species in general is that these species are capable of taking advantage of changing environments. In this study Simona tested whether nutrient enrichment of surface waters (eutrophication) favours the alien
Lemna minuta over native
Lemna minor. A key finding of the study is that
Lemna minuta outgrew
Lemna minor under conditions of high phosphate supply, whileÂ
Lemna minuta grew less than
Lemna minor when phosphate concentrations in the growth medium were low. Thus, eutrophication is potentially facilitating the invasion of European surface waters by alien
Simonaâ€™s PhD project is funded by the Irish Research Council (IRC), and jointly supervised by Prof. Marcel Jansen and Dr. Simon Harrison.