, Volume 747, Issue 1, pp 43–52 | Cite as

Effects of water level fluctuations on lakeshore vegetation of three subtropical floodplain lakes, China

  • Xiaoke Zhang
  • Xueqin LiuEmail author
  • Hongzhu Wang
Primary Research Paper


Vegetation communities in floodplain lakes are adapted to natural water regimes. Construction of sluices or dams between rivers and their floodplain lakes will inevitably lead to great changes in plant communities. In order to evaluate the effects of water level fluctuations (WLFs) on lakeshore vegetation in floodplain lakes of the Yangtze River, a field investigation was conducted in two river-disconnected lakes (Wuchang Lake and Shengjin Lake) and one river-connected lake (Shimen Lake). The results showed that plant species richness was highest in the disconnected Shengjin Lake with intermediate amplitude of WLFs, and lowest in the connected Shimen Lake. Species composition differed among the three lakes and the two disconnected lakes with more similar WLFs exhibiting the greatest similarity. Six plant communities were classified using TWINSPAN. Multivariate analyses showed that the amplitude of WLFs was the most important factor in determining the distribution of lakeshore plants, followed by relative elevation and duration of submergence. Our results provide an eco-hydrological basis for plant restoration in the Yangtze floodplain lakes. We suggest that fluctuating amplitude should be increased in lakes with small WLFs, and small habitats with various hydrological regimes should be created in lakes with large WLFs.


Yangtze River floodplain Water level fluctuations Lakeshore Diversity 



We thank Bo Deng and Yuning Li for their helps in the field investigation. We also thank Dr Tim Jardine and two anonymous reviews for their invaluable comments on this manuscript. This research was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (41371054 and 41001117) and the Ministry of Water Resources’ Special Funds for Scientific Research on Public Causes (201101062).

Supplementary material

10750_2014_2121_MOESM1_ESM.doc (138 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 138 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of HydrobiologyChinese Academy of SciencesWuhanChina
  2. 2.College of Life ScienceAnqing Normal UniversityAnqingChina

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