Kerala

Pink bloom a major threat to waterbodies: KFRI

Pink bloom, which emerged as a recent tourist attraction at Avalappandi Canal of Cheruvannur panchayat (near Perambra in Kozhikode), has become a major threat to the fresh waterbodies in Kerala, a research team of Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI), has observed.

The cause of the instant tourist interest is a flowering invasive alien species, Red Cabomba (Cabombafurcata), a submerged perennial aquatic plant that grows in stagnant to slow-flowing freshwater. Native to Central and south America, Cabomba is a common aquarium plant with beautiful flowers and excellently dissected leaves. International aquarium industry has been introducing them to areas outside of its native range.

Affecting fish yield

“Cabomba has caused the decrease in the diversity of native aquatic plants and has also caused economic losses by affecting the yield of freshwater fishe. Cabomba prefers nutrient-rich freshwaterbodies. They are capable of fast spreading by propagation of stem fragments and form dense stands in waterbodies that will outnumber native plants. This aquatic plant has a high natural dispersal potential owing to its ability to readily fragment and spread both actively and passively,” said T.V. Sajeev, Senior Principal Scientist, KFRI, who led a research team to study the issue.

V. Anitha, Senior Principal Scientist; T.K. Hrideek, Senior Scientist; and researchers Karthika M.N., Thushar Naduvallur, and Sooraj M. were the other team members.

The invasion of Cabomba will choke ecologically and economically important waterbodies and drainage canals. It requires a large quantity of oxygen for its growth, which results in decline of biodiversity and affects the water quality.

The key to controlling the species is to mechanically remove the plants from the waterbody and drying them in terrestrial spaces. There should also be strict measures to prevent the spread of the species. People should stop collecting and transporting the plant and district authorities should initiate immediate measures to the remove the plant from the current invaded areas so as to prevent further spread.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2021 2:07:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/pink-bloom-a-major-threat-to-waterbodies-kfri/article33223040.ece

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