Bioclimatic and habitat variability shape the diversity and distribution of aquatic and invasive macrophytes in the floodplains of Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot

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Research Paper 13/06/2023
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Bioclimatic and habitat variability shape the diversity and distribution of aquatic and invasive macrophytes in the floodplains of Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot

Samim Borbhuyan, Nami Prasad, Titam Dey, Tapati Das
J. Bio. Env. Sci.22( 6), 152-166, June 2023.
Certificate: JBES 2023 [Generate Certificate]

Abstract

Climate plays a major role in determining plant species richness and distribution patterns at a continental scale. However, a detailed investigation is necessary to understand the effect of climatic variations on species richness and distribution patterns at a regional scale, as other factors such as habitat types and associated environmental conditions exert significant influence at this scale. We conducted a study to test this hypothesis by analyzing species richness data from 1150 aquatic systems categorized into six types i.e., lotic system, marsh, pond, water-logged area, wetland, and wasteland area, located in five bioclimatic zones of Assam (CZ1 to CZ5) in the Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot. The identification of the bioclimatic zones was based on Iterative Self-Organizing (ISO) clustering of 19 bioclimatic variables, which enabled differentiation of zones based on precipitation and temperature seasonality. The study revealed a total of 90 species of aquatic macrophytes under 67 genera and 34 families. Out of these, 23 species under 20 genera and 18 families were invasive. The richness of aquatic macrophytes including the invasive species increased with extremity of climatic conditions from CZ1 to CZ4. However, the richness decreased substantially in CZ5 that had the highest effect of seasonality of precipitation and temperature. Amongst all the invasive species, species such as Eichhornia crassipes, Ipomoea carnea, Cynodon dactylon, Pistia stratiotes, Mimosa pudica followed by Ludwigia adscendensIpomoea aquatica, and Alternanthera philoxeroides were available in all types of aquatic habitats and across all the bioclimatic zones with greater encountered sites thereby indicating their greater potential for encroachment and landscape spread in the study area.

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