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| Format: Ms Word | 1-5 Chapters | Table of Content|


Study Level: BTech, BSc, BEng, BA, HND, ND or NCE

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                             CHAPTER ONE


1.1       Background of the Study

Wetlands are regarded as biodiversity isles, because they support extensive food chains and a rich biodiversity. In this sense, these ecosystems are important sites for conservation (Getzner, 2002). Almost 50% of the world’s wetlands have disappeared in the last century due to Agriculture and Urban Development (Shine and Klemm, 1999). In Europe, the situation is critical with the loss of almost 2/3 of wetlands by the beginning of the 20thcentury. (Santamarıa and Klaassen, 2002).Wetlands are important habitats for many species of plants and animals at both national and international levels (Hebb et al., 2013; Wetser et al., 2015). A contribution to our understanding of how a community is put together, how it works, what determines the relative proportions of community members, and their spatial and temporal relationships with each other might contain something of value for describing wetlands.

Aquatic macrophytes, often also called hydrophytes, are key components of aquatic and wetland ecosystems. As primary producers, they are at the base of herbivorous and detritivorous food chains, providing food to invertebrates, fish and birds, and organic carbon for bacteria. Their stems, roots and leaves serve as a substrate for periphyton, and a shelter for numerous invertebrates and different stages of fish, amphibians and reptiles (Dvořák,1996). Biogeochemical processes in the water column and sediments are to a large extent influenced by the presence/absence and a type of macrophytes, and macrophytes can also have a profound impact on water movement and sediment dynamics in water bodies. Some macrophytes are of major importance for their direct contributions to human societies by providing food, biomass, and building materials (Engelhardt and Ritchie, 2001; Egertson et al., 2004; Bornette and Puijalon 2011). Good knowledge of the functions of aquatic macrophytes in wetlands and shallow lake ecosystems is critical for understanding the basic ecosystem processes. It is also important for numerous applied issues such as anthropogenic perturbations, wetland restoration, wastewater treatment, and management of invasive species (Lavoie, 2010; Casanova, 2011).

Soils in wetlands are characterized by a high degree of spatial variability due to a combination of physical, chemical and biological processes that operate with different intensities at different scales. These processes in wetland ecosystems include for example; surface run-off, erosion, over bank flooding, sediment deposition, ground water inputs, fire, animal burrowing, litter production and root activity (Bruland and Richardson, 2005). The distribution of plant species in wetlands varies along different environmental conditions. For instance, flood-sensitive plants are usually distributed at higher-elevation sites because of their low tolerance to flooding, whereas flood-tolerant species usually occur at lower elevations (Luo et al., 2008). While some studies have shown that pedological attributes such as textural class, pH and nutrients among others, play significant roles in regulating vegetation patterns (Ubom, et al., 2012; Kwon et al., 2007), others have shown that in studying macrophyte-environment used various techniques are used to assess aquatic macrophytes and most have reported measurements of diversity, richness, frequency, and community composition (Akasaka and Takamura, 2011).

In view of the significant role played by macrophytes in freshwater ecosystems, understanding and quantifying the environmental factors that influence the distribution patterns of macrophytes is indispensable for integrated management practices of these ecosystems.

1.2       Statement of Problem

Riverine wetlands play important roles in Akwa Ibom State in supplying water for human consumption and agricultural production. For the past years, these ecosystems have been deteriorating because of increasing human perturbations leading to pollution, eutrophication and plant destruction. The deterioration of this ecosystem has caused increasing concern and has been the subject of a number of studies. Also, most studies in Akwa Ibom State have generally focused on coastal wetlands most especially mangrove ecosystems. These studies have centered primarily on water quality and aquatic vegetation inventory.  Unfortunately, studies have rarely considered the relationships between the spatial distribution of vegetation and soil factors in riverine wetlands. This has led to the paucity of information on riverine wetland with regards to plant community composition as well as the influence of soil properties on plant distribution. If these were available, understanding the major environmental soil factors affecting or influencing wetland plant communities would have been made possible and these would have formed the basis for the conservation practices and future management of this ecosystem. The dearth in information in this regards further obliged this study.


1.3       Objectives of the Study

The aim of this research is to assess influence of soil properties on macrophyte abundance and distribution in a freshwater wetland. The specific objectives are to:

i.)         document the macrophyte composition of the wetland.

  1. ii) characterize the soil properties of the wetland

iii)        assess the influence of soil properties on vegetation components using cluster correlation analysis



Account Number: 0709546102

Access Bank: Savings
Account Name: Emmanuel Idorenyin Samuel.

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