Two intersting blurbs about water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) today. First, the Herald Tribune reports that a scientist has developed a way to use populations of the invasive aquatic plant to remove excess nutrients that pollute stormwater runoff. The best part is that once the water is clean, the water hyacinth is removed and turned into a supplement for cattle feed. Read the article and you'll see that this is no fly-by-night project.
Also in the news today is a report from the India Times that water hyacinth invasion leads to an increase in dengue fever (Flavirus spp.). When water hyacinth populations take over a body of water, vegetation below the surface is shaded out and decays, leading to a loss of oxygen in the water. Dengue is a mosquito-borne disease, and it is suspected that the fish that would normally eat mosquito larvae are being suffocated.
Thanks to a member of the ALIENS-L listserver for posting link to these stories.