Algae and aquatic vascular plants were investigated along a highly modified medium-sized lowland river (Oglio River, northern Italy). We focused on the role of fragmentation and groundwater supply in driving macrophyte assemblages, paying particular attention to soft-bodied benthic algae. Four different a priori stretch types (dammed, groundwater-dependent, potamal and rhithral) were identified along the river longitudinal gradient as proxies of river hydrology and relative human-induced flow alterations. Over three years (2009–2011), taxa diversity, cover data, spatial and temporal dynamics and indicator and detector species were compared with physical, chemical and hydrological variables at 30 different river sites. Data was explored by indicator species analysis, nonmetric multidimensional scaling, and PROTEST. A total of 88 taxa, of which 36 were algae (equal to 40.9% of the total diversity), 3 bryophytes (3.4%) and 49 vascular plants (55.7%), were recorded. Taxa diversity peaked at the groundwater-dependent sites for both algae and vascular plants (with a mean of 12.8 ± 2.7 and 12.7 ± 4.8 taxa per site, respectively). Algae cover values were one order of magnitude higher than those of vascular plants (with an overall mean of 37.0 ± 24.2% per site). The vascular plants counterbalanced the algae coverage values exclusively at the dammed sites (27.6 ± 23.2% vs 28.2 ± 13.9%, respectively). A clear zonation of communities emerged from the multivariate analysis, which revealed taxa rearrangements that largely overlapped the river stretch types. Inter-annual comparisons confirmed the strong stability of the primary producer communities in the short term (three years). Our work substantiates the pivotal role played by fragmentation and hydrology, in addition to groundwater, in structuring riverine macrophyte communities. Further investigations are needed to resolve the uncertainty surrounding the non-linear responses of macrophytes to the physical and chemical conditions of rivers.

Fragmentation and groundwater supply as major drivers of algal and plant diversity and relative cover dynamics along a highly modified lowland river / Bolpagni, Rossano; Racchetti, Erica; Laini, Alex. - In: SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT. - ISSN 0048-9697. - 568:(2016), pp. 875-884. [10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.06.070]

Fragmentation and groundwater supply as major drivers of algal and plant diversity and relative cover dynamics along a highly modified lowland river

Bolpagni, Rossano
;
Racchetti, Erica;Laini, Alex
2016

Abstract

Algae and aquatic vascular plants were investigated along a highly modified medium-sized lowland river (Oglio River, northern Italy). We focused on the role of fragmentation and groundwater supply in driving macrophyte assemblages, paying particular attention to soft-bodied benthic algae. Four different a priori stretch types (dammed, groundwater-dependent, potamal and rhithral) were identified along the river longitudinal gradient as proxies of river hydrology and relative human-induced flow alterations. Over three years (2009–2011), taxa diversity, cover data, spatial and temporal dynamics and indicator and detector species were compared with physical, chemical and hydrological variables at 30 different river sites. Data was explored by indicator species analysis, nonmetric multidimensional scaling, and PROTEST. A total of 88 taxa, of which 36 were algae (equal to 40.9% of the total diversity), 3 bryophytes (3.4%) and 49 vascular plants (55.7%), were recorded. Taxa diversity peaked at the groundwater-dependent sites for both algae and vascular plants (with a mean of 12.8 ± 2.7 and 12.7 ± 4.8 taxa per site, respectively). Algae cover values were one order of magnitude higher than those of vascular plants (with an overall mean of 37.0 ± 24.2% per site). The vascular plants counterbalanced the algae coverage values exclusively at the dammed sites (27.6 ± 23.2% vs 28.2 ± 13.9%, respectively). A clear zonation of communities emerged from the multivariate analysis, which revealed taxa rearrangements that largely overlapped the river stretch types. Inter-annual comparisons confirmed the strong stability of the primary producer communities in the short term (three years). Our work substantiates the pivotal role played by fragmentation and hydrology, in addition to groundwater, in structuring riverine macrophyte communities. Further investigations are needed to resolve the uncertainty surrounding the non-linear responses of macrophytes to the physical and chemical conditions of rivers.
Fragmentation and groundwater supply as major drivers of algal and plant diversity and relative cover dynamics along a highly modified lowland river / Bolpagni, Rossano; Racchetti, Erica; Laini, Alex. - In: SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT. - ISSN 0048-9697. - 568:(2016), pp. 875-884. [10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.06.070]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11381/2841154
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