The contribution of nine species of macrophytes to the phosphorus nutrition of their epiphytes and the rates of P release by Myriophyllum spicatum L. were measured in situ on fully labeled (32P) plants. The epiphytes derived only 3.4-9.0% of their P from the supporting macrophyte, indicating that previously suggested macrophyte-epiphyte nutrient interactions are of relatively minor importance. Although high diurnal P release rates (X = 3.24 ug g-1 h-1) were observed for the Myriophyllum-epiphyte complex, Myriophyllum accounted for only 9.9% (0.32 ug g-1 h-1) of the total P released: The Myriophyllum-derived P was, however, released in a highly available soluble form (minimum estimate: 60.3%). During the growing season, Myriophyllum thus appears to be principally important as a physical support for an active microbial community rather than as a P source to its epiphyton and surrounding waters.
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