The European strategy for invasive alien species developed by the Berne Convention involves the current activity of the species that are away from their natural range is sharply increasing due to the product availability as a result of globalization (Butchart et al. 2010). It gives vectors and pathways for living organisms (plants, animals) to cross those biogeographic barriers that normally blocked their movement and spread (T-PVS-Inf 2016). Megalopolises with an ample quantity of pantropical alien species in the hands controlled by both professionals and amateurs are crucial here. Escape from aquaculture (aquariums or decorative ponds) or deliberate release into natural water bodies are the main settlement solution.
Significant changes in the main climate references are also an important factor when considering the current acceleration of the invasion of alien species. They are a reason of numerous indirect changes in aquatic ecosystems. The combined stresses that come with them mostly affect native hydrobiont species, but they are particularly influential to macrophytes (Reitsema et al. 2020).
Against the background of climate changes, the transformation of native macrophyte communities is intensifying due to anthropogenic transformation of aquatic habitats and anthropogenic eutrophication of waters. This results in a number of released ecological niches being suitable for new emigrants to settle in. Thus, over the past 15-20 years, the number of alien macrophyte species has increased by several times in Ukraine (Zub 2020). And if until recently the majority of alien macrophytes in the region were North American species (Elodea sanadensis, Elodea nuttalli, Azolla caroliniana, at the present stage there is an active penetration of species of more southern origin (Egeria densa, Pistia stratiotes, Eichornia crassipes). These species respond positively to the gradual increase in average annual water temperatures, as can be seen in the countries with temperate climate due to global climate change.
Like most macrophytes, these species have rapid growth, high productivity, wide ecological plasticity and the property to migrate over considerable distances. All these features determine the dynamics of the invasion. They form dense underwater (Egeria densa) or floating (Pistia stratiotes, Eichornia crassipes) thicket that can capture entire water bodies over a short period of time. These properties make them potentially dangerous alien species. In 2004, Egeria densa was added to the EPPO List of invasive alien plants. In 2008, the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization included Eichornia crassipes to the A2 list where it recommended the species for regulation as a quarantine pest, and added Pistia stratiotes to the same list in 2017.
Waterways are excellent corridors for both the invasion and further spread of alien species. Expansions by waterways are usually rapid: the most striking examples of botanical "water" invasions include global water hyacinth infestation (Eichhornia crassipes (Mart.) Solms), which is a Brazilian native that has spread over the past century through tropical, reclamation, irrigation, and other navigational water bodies around the world – Africa, Australia, the United States, Indonesia, etc. In Europe, Eichornia crassipes spread across the river basins of France, Italy, Portugal and Spain, the species is recorded as random in several European countries with temperate climates – Belgium, Romania, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic (IAS 2017; EAA 2012) This species is now regarded as a serious weed in 52 countries around the world, causing significant damage and having a huge impact on aquatic ecosystems and water quality (De Groote et al. 2003; Golovanov et al. 2016).
The complex European Inland Waterway Network attributed to the spread of another tropical species with high invasive potential – Egeria densa Planch. (Cabi 2019). The South American, Brazilian, Argentinian, and Uruguayan bodies of water are the natural habitat for the species (Cook 1984). The plant was first found in the United States in 1893 (Mill Neck, Long Island) and put up for sale as a good oxygenator. This species was first discovered in Europe in a canal in the city of Leipzig (Germany) in 1910. This species was also found in Belgium, France, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, England, and Russia. It became an invasive species in six countries (Cabi 2019).
Another dangerous species, Pistia stratiotes L., is native in tropical and subtropical areas of Africa, Asia and South America. It is known that it was found in Europe in the second half of the 20th century, namely, in the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, France, Spain, and Italy (EPPO 2021). At the onset of the 21st century, the species was discovered in the waters of Slovenia, Russia, and Ukraine.
The extension of a large city is accompanied by a radical transformation of the ecosystem (Marques et al. 2020). The temperature regime under urban conditions is milder, less extreme. This contributes to the introduction and spread of tropical alien species. Consequentially, urban ecosystems contain a large number of alien species, which was the outcome of human actions (Lososová et al. 2016; Richardson et al. 2011Furthermore, small plant phytocoenoses, which are mainly communities of macrophytes in urban hydroecosystems, are a convenient arena for the aggressor to spread. Therefore, this can lead to a complete transformation of the natural structure of the plant formation. The end result of such settlement is the formation of new viable populations with the required level of productivity and their "eviction" outside the urban landscape and naturalization in native ecosystems. And the modern enhanced anthropogenic transformation of natural aquatic biotopes (eutrophication of reservoirs, reduction of species diversity and changes in the structure of hydrobiocoenoses) and a significant number of newly created man-made reservoirs contributes to the activation of the processes of colonization of alien species to them.
This paper is concerned with the study of ecology and invasive behaviour of southern invasive species in the setting of urban landscape water bodies.