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Hydrobiologia

, Volume 289, Issue 1–3, pp 43–55 | Cite as

An elementary, structural analysis of river phytoplankton

  • C. Rojo
  • M. Alvarez Cobelas
  • M. Arauzo
Contributions from the workshop

Summary

A structural analysis of river phytoplankton has been carried out based upon published studies on 67 rivers. When available on a yearly basis to account for seasonal variability, five structural features have been chosen: species composition, species richness, species dominance, diversity and biomass (total and per taxonomic groups). Despite the high number of reported studies, most of them cover only some of the aforementioned features. As a result of the low amount of studies, tropical rivers are underepresented. No size distribution studies have been carried out on river phytoplankton. The average species richness amounts to 126, being higher in temperate rivers. Roughly one half of each flora is comprised of sporadic species. No statistically significant relationship between species richness and latitude has been found despite the fact that tropical rivers appear to house fewer species than temperate rivers. Also, one half of the support in the floras are either benthic or tychoplanktonic. Diatoms comprise the majority of species numbers in the whole data set but are substituted by desmids in tropical rivers and by green algae when benthic species are not taken into account. There appears to be lower biomass in river phytoplankton than in lakes. Diatoms are also the major taxonomic group comprising total biomass in rivers but they share clearly a lower fraction in tropical rivers. On an average basis, diatoms appear to be more dominant in rivers than in lakes. The time course of diatom dominance occurs close to the summer solstice in tropical rivers whereas is much more lagged in temperate sites. The diversity of river phytoplankton is highly scattered (0.40–4.40 bits ind−1).

Key words

river phytoplankton structure species richness biomass diversity 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Rojo
    • 1
  • M. Alvarez Cobelas
    • 2
  • M. Arauzo
    • 2
  1. 1.Dept. MicrobiologíaUniv. ValenciaValenciaSpain
  2. 2.Centro de Ciencias Medioambientales (CSIC)MadridSpain

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