Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences

Seasonal dynamics of production, and nutrient accumulation and cycling by Phragmites asutralis (Cav.) Trin. ex Stuedel in a nutrient-enriched swamp in Inland Australia. I. Whole Plants

P.J. Hocking

Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 40(5) 421 - 444
Published: 1989


A study was made of the seasonal changes in dry matter production and patterns of nutrient accumulation by Phragmites australis in a nutrient-enriched swamp in inland Australia. The density of live shoots was highest (224 m-2) in October, but the peak standing crop of live shoots (9890 g m-2) occurred in early May. Peak below-ground biomass (21 058 g m-2) occurred in early August. Rhizome biomass constituted 75% of the below-ground biomass, and showed a distinct seasonal pattern. Net annual above-ground primary production (NAAP), estimated by the maximum-minimum method, was 9513 g m-2. Correction for shoot mortality and leaf shedding before, and production after, the maximum standing crop was attained increased NAAP to 12 898 g m-2. Whole plant production estimated by the maximum-minimum method was 9960 g m-2, and the corrected estimate was 14 945 g m-2. A model of dry-matter production indicated that translocation of carbohydrate from rhizomes could have provided 33% of the dry matter of shoots. About 23% of the dry matter of shoots was redistributed to below-ground organs during senescence.

Concentrations of N, P, K, S, Cl and Cu declined, but concentrations of Ca, Mg, Na, Fe and Mn increased as shoots aged. Concentrations of N, P and Zn in rhizomes reached maxima in winter, and decreased in spring. Rhizomes usually contained the greatest quantity of a nutrient in the whole plant, and roots usually had less than 25% of the total plant content. There were seasonal fluctuations in the quantities of N, P, K, Zn and Cu in rhizomes. Nutrient accumulation by live shoots was underestimated by 22-55% using the maximum-minimum method. Nutrient budgets showed considerable internal cycling of N, P, K, S and Cu from rhizomes to developing shoots in spring, and from senescing shoots to rhizomes during autumn and winter.

© CSIRO 1989

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