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Hydrobiologia

, Volume 140, Issue 2, pp 183–191 | Cite as

Characteristics of softwater streams in Rhode Island. III. Distribution of macrophytic vegetation in a small drainage basin

  • Robert G. Sheath
  • JoAnn M. Burkholder
  • Julie A. Hambrook
  • Amy M. Hogeland
  • Elizabeth Hoy
  • Michael E. Kane
  • Mary O. Morison
  • Alan D. Steinman
  • Kathryn L. Van Alstyne
Article

Abstract

The Wood River watershed, a small well-defined drainage basin in Rhode Island was monitored seasonally for all macrophytic vegetation and various physical variables. Twenty-four segments, 20 m in length were sampled. Mean stream depth, width and current velocity increased by 3 to 8 fold from 1st- to 4th-order segments. Light penetration was positively correlated with the above variables (p < 0.05) and increased by 11 fold from the headwaters to the mouth during September when the riparian canopy was maximum. 74 subgeneric taxa of macrophytes were collected in the Wood River basin, 36% algae, 13% bryophytes, 4% vascular cryptograms and 45% angiosperms. The highest diversity occurred in the 4th-order segments throughout the year. Species numbers were positively correlated with depth, width and light penetration (p < 0.05). Vascular plants dominated all orders, but their proportion doubled from 1st- to 4th-order streams. Macrophyte cover was twice as high in the 4th-order segments in June and September as in the other orders. Macrophyte abundance was positively correlated to light penetration and negatively correlated to the ratio of nonvascular: vascular plants (p < 0.05). Two distinct clusters were found for the predominant species. The first cluster contained mostly large angiosperms, which were rooted in sediments, while the second cluster was composed of small epilithic algae and bryophytes. The moss, Fontinalis antipyretica, was the most frequent species, occurring in 51% of the samples and in all 4 orders throughout the year.

Keywords

Rhode Island streams macrophytes macroalgae watershed drainage basin 

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Copyright information

© Dr W. Junk Publishers 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert G. Sheath
    • 1
  • JoAnn M. Burkholder
    • 1
  • Julie A. Hambrook
    • 1
  • Amy M. Hogeland
    • 1
  • Elizabeth Hoy
    • 1
  • Michael E. Kane
    • 1
  • Mary O. Morison
    • 1
  • Alan D. Steinman
    • 1
  • Kathryn L. Van Alstyne
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BotanyUniversity of Rhode IslandKingstonUSA

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