Though the health of aquatic ecosystems relies heavily on the services provided by its plants, too many can be destructive. The hydrilla (hydrilla verticillata), an exotic aquarium plant costing the United States millions of dollars to control, is fit to thrive in the tropical waters of Brazil according to a study conducted by I. Bianchini Jr and his colleagues at the Federal University of Sao Carlos.
The study controlled several growth parameters such as temperature and light availability, and simulated those qualities characteristic of most South American reservoirs. I. Bianchini Jr and his colleagues then calculated the mass doubling times of the hydrilla under the various conditions and compared them to those of native plants. The hydrilla proves to posses astounding doubling times (some parts of the plants are as low as two days). Analysis concludes that not only is the hydrilla capable of competing with native plants, but it is also likely to displace many of them.
Plant invasions seem to be very hard to control. Has there been any action in reducing the hydrilla?