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Wonde Zelalem
Demeke Kifle
Seyoum Mengistou
Ayalew Wondie


Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes (Mart) Solms), a perennial and stoloniferous aquatic herb, is non-indigenous to Lake Tana. Its presence in the lake was recognized during the last three to four years and it has become a threat to the lake ecosystem. To assess the lake water quality, composition and abundance of phytoplankton, samples were collected from three weed-infested and three non-infested sites from September 2012 to May 2013. Sampling was carried out four times (once in each four seasons). In this investigation, the effect of water hyacinth on physico-chemical characteristics of the lake water was not significant. However, its effect on some parameters such as TDS, temperature, specific conductance, total hardness, Secchi depth, PO4-P, NO3-N and NH3-N were manifested. A total of 68 phytoplankton species were identified. The phytoplankton community was dominated by Chlorophyceae (mainly Chlamydomonas sp.) in the weed-infested sites and Bacillariophyceae in the non-infested sites. Small density difference was observed between the two sites. However, significant variations of Shannon’s index (H') and species evenness (j) of phytoplankton were observed between the two sites with higher mean value in the non-infested sites than weed-infested sites. Short infestation time and control intervention through physical removal contributed to minimize its effect. However, environmental conditions are currently favorable for its optimum growth and further proliferation might be going on and even spreading to new areas which were not infested before. This may exacerbate the effect of water hyacinth in future and therefore, continuous follow up and designing sustainable management strategies including biological agents, regulation of agricultural and urban wastes and even removal of the weed through utilization should get due attention.


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