Relationship among physicochemical conditions, chlorophyll-a concentration, and water level in a tropical river–floodplain system

  • A. K. Cruz-Ramírez
  • M. Á. SalcedoEmail author
  • A. J. Sánchez
  • E. Barba Macías
  • J. D. Mendoza Palacios
Short Communication


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.


Inorganic 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.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

13762_2018_2127_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (83 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 83 kb)


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Copyright information

© Islamic Azad University (IAU) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Doctorado en Ciencias en Ecología y Manejo de Sistemas Tropicales. División Académica de Ciencias BiológicasUniversidad Juárez Autónoma de TabascoVillahermosaMéxico
  2. 2.Diagnóstico y Manejo de Humedales Tropicales, División Académica de Ciencias BiológicasUniversidad Juárez Autónoma de TabascoVillahermosaMéxico
  3. 3.Manejo Sustentable de Cuencas y Zonas CosterasEl Colegio de la Frontera SurVillahermosaMéxico
  4. 4.Recursos Hídricos y Edáficos, División Académica de Ciencias AgropecuariasUniversidad Juárez Autónoma de TabascoVillahermosaMéxico

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