Modeling interactions of submersed plant biomass and environmental factors in a stream using structural equation modeling
This study investigated the interactions of submersed plants with environmental factors using structural equation modeling (SEM) and evaluated the effect strength of respective factors in an aquatic ecosystem using a data set collected at a fourth order stream in Japan. A model that simultaneously examines the relative importance of factors of the system has developed. The investigated factors included plant biomass (Biomass) of submersed macrophytes (Potamogeton malaianus and Potamogeton oxyphyllus) and other environmental factors, i.e. water velocity and water depth (Hydraulic), pore water nitrogen (TNL), pore water phosphorus (TPL), sediment organic matter (Organic) and sediment particle size (Texture). The estimated model showed that the Biomass was negatively correlated with Hydraulic but positively correlated with Organic whilst TNL and TPL affected the Biomass with almost equal strength. The effects caused by Hydraulic to Texture were greater than the ones caused by Biomass. At the narrow ranges of water velocity (0–7 cm s−1) and shallow depth (0–35 cm), the effect of wash-away of Organic by Hydraulic were smaller than the retention effect of Organic by Biomass. These results provide more insights into interactions of the submersed macrophytes with environmental factors.