Large rivers in tropical regions can experience strong variations of abiotic factors owing to the occurrence of flood pulses. Both man-made and natural floods can cause pulses with varying intensity and duration. Here, we test the hypothesis that ostracod communities in the pleuston of floating plants are persistent during regular pulses and more variable during extreme floods. Ostracod communities were monitored in the Manezinho Backwater of the Upper Paraná River floodplain (Brazil) for 83 months (seven hydrologic cycles). Flood pulses directly influenced the abiotic variables, which in turn were correlated with the species composition and abundance of ostracods. Variability in the species composition differentiated only between the limnophase of cycle 4 (L4: 2009) and the subsequent extreme flood of cycle 5 (P5: 2009–2010). The longer duration and higher intensity of the extreme flood can increase the exchange of organisms through the aquatic connections between the lake and the river and can potentially trigger the hatching of dry-resistant eggs, increasing variability in ostracod species composition. The absence of significant differences in the species composition variability between the other succeeding periods shows that these communities are persistent and buffered to the effects of natural pulses of short durations.
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We would like to thank Dr. Roger Paulo Mormul and Dr. Luiz Carlos Gomes for assistance with the statistical analyses and Jaime Luiz Lopes Pereira for help with the production of the map. We thank the Nucleus of Research in Limnology, Ichthyology and Aquaculture (Núcleo de Pesquisas em Limnologia, Ictiologia e Aquicultura, Nupélia) and the Post-graduate Program in the Ecology of Continental Aquatic Environments (Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ecologia de Ambientes Aquáticos Continentais, PEA) of the State University of Maringá (Universidade Estadual de Maringá, UEM) for the logistic support. This Research forms part of Projects supported by National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq Nr 472434/03-9), through the Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Program, and the SETI/Fundação Araucária/MCT/CNPq (Nr 232/10). EOC and RC would like to thank CNPq and the Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES) for granting their Master’s Scholarships, respectively. Dr. Tadeusz Namiotko (Gdansk, Poland) and Dr. Thijs Van der Meeren (Ghent, Belgium) suggested important improvements. The Universidade Estadual de Maringá (UEM, Maringá) and the Royal Belgian Institute of natural Sciences (RBINS, Brussels) have a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding regarding collaborative Scientific Research.
Handling editor: Luigi Naselli-Flores
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Conceição, E.O., Higuti, J., Campos, R. et al. Effects of flood pulses on persistence and variability of pleuston communities in a tropical floodplain lake. Hydrobiologia 807, 175–188 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-017-3392-z
- Aquatic macrophytes
- El Niño
- Extreme flood events