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The effect of altered flow regimes on aquatic primary producer communities: Diatoms and macrophytes

Abstract: Rivers are intensively managed worldwide through unprecedented flow regime alterations on a global scale. This has led to an increasing interest in the development of quantitative tools to assess the ecological response of organisms to flow alteration. To date, studies reflect a large diversity of responses that make the intensity and prevalence of effects difficult to generalize. The present study analysed how flow alterations caused by dams affect the structure, composition and traits of diatoms and macrophytes in three Spanish river basins (Cantabric, Ebro and Duero). By using a control-impact design based mainly in hydrological similarity, our results showed consistent patterns of change in diatom and macrophyte communities. Our study showed a shift from resistant traits such as non-colonial diatom forms and crust-forming algae, which are adapted to the extreme events and natural dynamism of unregulated rivers, towards planktonic diatoms, free-floating algae and the mass development of aquatic plants in hydrological altered sites. Both communities shared common thresholds of response to altered hydrological attributes that could be considered in a flow management context. The hydrological indices that impacted diatom and macrophyte communities the most were related with the magnitude and duration of minimum flows. However, our results also show that it is important to consider the interrelationships between the different hydrological attributes such as the seasonal variability of monthly flows, the magnitude of maximum annual extremes, the timing of flow events, and the frequency and rate of flow changes.

 Fuente: Ecohydrology, 2022, 15(1), e2353

 Editorial: John Wiley and Sons Ltd

 Fecha de publicación: 27/01/2022

 Nº de páginas: 62

 Tipo de publicación: Artículo de Revista

 DOI: 10.1002/eco.2353

 ISSN: 1936-0584,1936-0592

 Proyecto español: BIA2015-71197

 Proyecto europeo: info:eu-repo/grantAgreement/EC/H2020/765553/EU/A EUROpean training and research network for environmental FLOW management in river basins/EUROFLOW/

 Url de la publicación: https://doi.org/10.1002/eco.2353