Relationship among physicochemical conditions, chlorophyll-a concentration, and water level in a tropical river–floodplain system
The free-flowing Usumacinta River maintains an average annual water-level fluctuation of 6.7 m. This study evaluated relationships between 14 physicochemical and biological variables and key factors in four water-level conditions in a river–floodplain system. The analysis incorporated intra-annual variation in all variables, with each selected in accordance with multiple statistical and physicochemical criteria. Possible correlations were examined as a function of various physicochemical and biological factors at each water level. Within the study area, defined by a temporal gradient in principal component 1, the yearly river overflow above the bankfull stage is characterized by water with a low level of total suspended solids. Data on riverine wetlands suggest that seasonal changes are key to determining intra- and inter-annual chlorophyll-a levels and water clarity. However, opposite trends are observed for high and low water-level conditions. Nutrient enrichment cannot be taken as the key physicochemical factor of water level, under either water-level conditions, due to the lack of a temporal gradient in principal component 2 and the high biochemical variability of nitrate and orthophosphate levels. In conclusion, the hypothesis was accepted for the production of phytoplankton biomass and light attenuation at low and high water levels, as both were dependent on intra-annual changes. The increases in chlorophyll-a related to the minimal variability at the lowest water level open the opportunity to gauge this relationship as a possible environmental predictor for river–floodplain systems.
KeywordsInorganic nutrients Intra-annual variation Lateral connectivity Physicochemical processes Usumacinta basin
The Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT) and Tabasco State Government funded the research project with Grant Number TAB-2012-C-28-194316. Authors belong to RECORECOS net research. First author received a doctoral scholarship from CONACyT.
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare that have no conflict of interest.
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