, Volume 766, Issue 1, pp 1–15 | Cite as

Morphological and physiological traits of aquatic macrophytes respond to water chemistry in the Amazon Basin: an example of the genus Montrichardia Crueg (Araceae)

  • Aline LopesEmail author
  • Pia Parolin
  • Maria Teresa Fernandez Piedade
Primary Research Paper


Species composition and occurrence of aquatic macrophytes in the Amazon Basin are associated with the hydrology and geomorphology of the catchment area. Nonetheless, the distribution of the Neotropical genus Montrichardia in the Amazon floodplains remains unclear. Three taxa of the genus were described: Montrichardia linifera (Arr.) Schott (ML), associated with nutrient-rich rivers; Montrichardia arborescens (L.) Schott (MA) and M. arborescens var. aculeata (G. Mey.) Engl., growing in nutrient-poor rivers. We hypothesize that different taxa can be discriminated according to variation in density, morphology, physiology, and biomass along environmental gradients of water characteristics and soil fertility. Samples of 55 populations of Montrichardia were taken in rivers with contrasting water types in the Amazon Basin along a gradient of declining soil fertility from Western to Eastern Amazonia spanning about 2,500 km. Local phenotypic variations and discriminant analysis separated ML and MA with MA as subset of MA. Water chemistry influenced the distribution of taxa. The nutritional soil gradient at the basin level clearly explained the distribution of ML, but not that of MA. The distribution pattern of ML was similar to that of tree species in the Amazon Basin, with higher density in West Amazon.


Neotropics Biomass Phenotypic plasticity Amazon floodplains 



This work was supported by INCT ADAPTA—Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (CNPq/FAPEAM), Universal CNPq (14/2009; 14/2011), Pronex (CNPq/FAPEAM), and PELD MAUA (CNPq/FAPEAM). We are grateful to Naara Ferreira da Silva (INPA), Raissa Lagreca (UFRO), Pauline Pantoja (INPA), Conceição Lucia Costa, Celso R. Costa and Valdeney de A. Azevedo for their assistance in data collection. We appreciated the comments from two anonymous reviewers, Associate Editor Dr. Katya E. Kovalenko and Dr. John Ethan Householder who greatly improved the manuscript. We thank the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) for awarding Aline Lopes a Doctorate Grant and MAUA Research Group, Laboratório de Ecofisiologia e Evolução (LEEM) for logistical and technical support. Dr. A. Leyva helped with English editing of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aline Lopes
    • 1
    Email author
  • Pia Parolin
    • 2
  • Maria Teresa Fernandez Piedade
    • 3
  1. 1.Graduate Program in EcologyInstituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia/Grupo MAUA “Ecologia, Monitoramento e Uso Sustentável de Áreas Úmidas”ManausBrazil
  2. 2.Department of Plant Diversity, Klein FlottbekUniversity of HamburgHamburgGermany
  3. 3.Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da AmazôniaCDAM/Grupo MAUA “Ecologia, Monitoramento e Uso Sustentável de Áreas Úmidas”ManausBrazil

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