Thursday, 17 Oct 2019 | 18 Safar 1441
SQU researcher compiles database of aquatic plants in northern Oman

SQU researcher compiles database of aquatic plants in northern Oman

Dr Lakshmy Rajesh worked on the project as component of her doctoral thesis in the Department of Biology at the College of Science at Sultan Qaboos University (SQU), beneath the supervision of Prof Reginald Victor and other professionals.

As component of the project, Dr Lakshmy studied the diversity of freshwater aquatic plants in 26 wedian of the northern Al Hajar Mountain variety for the initial time. She collected 48 species belonging to 19 households and 38 genera, and recorded their frequency of occurrence, development types, life types and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) status. Dr Lakshmy mentioned that Phragmites australis (Common Reed), a huge perennial plant species discovered in wetlands, is the most dominant macrophyte followed by Typha domingensis (Southern Cattail or Cumbungi).

“Among submerged macrophytes, Chara vulgaris (common stonewort) had higher relative frequency followed by Potamogeton distinctus.” Through the study, Dr Lakshmy recorded Potamogeton distinctus, a species that had been misidentified for decades by earlier researchers, as new to Oman and the Arabian Peninsula. Potamogeton species are a single of the most challenging taxa to determine, simply because they show a wide variety of morphological variations.

Specimens of this species have been collected from nine study locations and its identity was confirmed by DNA barcoding, a modern day analysis methodology that offers correct taxonomic clarity at species level. The accession quantity of the barcode has been submitted to the National Centre of Biotechnology Information (NCBI) database. “A total of 19 other macrophytes were also barcoded,” she mentioned.

In this perform, particular significance was offered to Charophyta, the only non- spermatophyte incorporated in this study. Two species of charophytes, Chara vulgaris and Chara zeylanica have been collected. Morphology of thallus and oospores have been studied making use of sophisticated strategies like scanning electron microscopy to assist in species identification.

During her perform, Dr Lakshmy studied the ecological qualities of all the web sites. Assessment of environmental variables connected to macrophytes showed that they are actively interacting, displaying complicated interactions figuring out species diversity. Although a quantity of research have attempted to determine the regional aquatic flora, a excellent pitfall is the lack of work in understanding the association among macrophyte structural complexity and their connected environmental aspects.

According to Dr Lakshmy, the main threats to macrophytes are water pollution, water level variation, degradation of habitat due to human activities and organic environmental modifications. Only a single invasive species, Eicchornia crassipes has been identified in the course of this study, though it has been restricted only to a single habitat in northern Oman as of now.

Documentation of aquatic plant diversity is extremely essential to monitor the fragile aquatic/wetland ecosystems in Oman to style and implement proper conservation techniques.

According to Dr Lakshmy, the final results of this study can be utilized for devising management tools to handle biodiversity conservation and facilitate ecological restoration, if and when essential.

A component of Dr Lakshmy’s analysis has been published in the International Journal of Environmental Studies beneath the title, ‘The diversity and distribution of freshwater macrophytes in the wedian of the mountainous northern Oman’.

Information Source: Muscat Daily

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