Phytoplankton assemblages in a reservoir cascade of a large tropical - subtropical river (SE, Brazil)
Brazilian Journal of Biology
The phytoplankton assemblages from eight reservoirs of the Paranapanema River were studied during two consecutive years. Chlorophyceae and Bacillaryophyceae dominated in richness. The observed high number of taxa, 234, reflects the extensive sampling programme and evidences the necessity of considering the whole hydrograph basin to assess the biodiversity status of inland water ecosystems. The dams had a negative effect on phytoplankton richness, with higher number of taxa associate to riverine
... sociate to riverine (non-regulated) stretches. The tributary rivers also exhibited high species richness, showing the importance of considering the lateral dimension, in addition to the longitudinal one, for aquatic biota inventories in large river basins/reservoirs. Richness and diversity were also positively influenced by the connectivity with lateral wetlands (macrophyte-dominated lakes) due to the periphyton influence. The phytoplankton abundance/biomass was not influenced by higher water retention time. Higher values occurred in the middle basin stretches (river-passage reservoirs) due to the increase in the trophic conditions. There was a positive correlation with phosphorus. Poorer light conditions in the cascade do not limit the phytoplankton biomass, with assemblages dominated by species tolerant to turbulent conditions and high mineral turbidity. Bacillariophyceae and Cryptophyceae dominated numerically. The first group (unicellular forms) was prominent in the large and oligotrophic upstream reservoirs. The second was highly abundant in the river-passage (low retention time), and more eutrophic, reservoirs. Cyanophyceae growth is probably controlled by advection processes (wash-out effect). The zooplankton does not control the phytoplankton biomass and the diversity of both groups is positively associated in the cascade. The structure of the phytoplankton assemblages showed to be a good indicator of the operationally distinct reservoirs of the Paranapanema cascade and also reflected the changes in the trophic conditions along the basin.