Language: English with bilingual summary in English and French
The role of aquatic macrophytes in ecosystems is often deduced from studies of plant community ecology, population biology, and physiology. Knowing the possible interactions of species with their environment is useful in understanding the ecosystem. The fact that many aquatic macrophyte communities consist of canopies of monospecific stands within a water body, increases the value of studying their autoecology and genetic diversity. Conservation of aquatic habitats is an important task since pollution and eutrophication have markedly decreased the diversity of aquatic species and, consequently, the raw genetic material that allows adaptation to different environmental conditions.
In light of these considerations, the authors wish to re-emphasise the role of genetic diversity in the study of the ecology of aquatic macrophytes. In this book, original case studies and additional information on the multiple use of isozymes in aquatic spermatophytes (members of the Alismatidae) are presented for Alisma, Baldellia, Hydrilla (tuber extracts), Lagarosiphon, Potamogeton, Ruppia, Zannichellia and Najas, while the results for Hydrilla (leaf extracts) and for the seagrasses are reviewed. By broadening the discussion to include organisms with diverse ecological and genetic characteristics, a more realistic biological view of the genetic diversity in aquatic spermatophytes is likely to prevail. The role of isozymes, especially in molecular systematics but also in environmental studies of water plants, is considerable. They may serve as marker systems for a whole series of biological features such as the reproduction mode and breeding system, the polyploidy and karyotype differentiation, the biogeographic trends and habitat preferences, and the morphological variation.