, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 47-63
Date: 10 Nov 2012

Temporal and Spatial Patterns of Macroinvertebrates Associated with Small and Medium-Sized Free-Floating Plants

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Macrophytes play an important role in structuring communities in aquatic ecosystems due to their influence on ecological processes and attributes of biological aquatic assemblages. Freshwater macroinvertebrates comprise a functionally and taxonomically diverse group in shallow lakes, which serve as food for fish, amphibians, and water birds, and are involved in the breakdown of organic matter and nutrients. Here, we investigated macroinvertebrate assemblages associated with small and medium-sized free-floating plants (FFP) by describing their structure, analyzing functional aspects (considering functional feeding groups and habits), and determining how much of the variation in fauna composition is explained by environmental factors, mainly FFP. Differences in structure, functional feeding groups and habits of macroinvertebrate assemblages were associated with different compositions and percentages of cover of FFP. Gradients of richness and diversity of macroinvertebrates were positively related to the complexity of FFP mats, which was associated with the structure of roots and leaves.