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Salinization effects on stream biofilm functioning


Secondary salinization threatens fresh waters worldwide leading to deleterious ecological and economic consequences. The goal of the present study was to assess the potential response of catabolic functions (respiration rate, activities of acid phosphatase and β-glucosidase) of stream biofilms to salinization. Biofilm assemblages from five streams were incubated under controlled conditions in microcosms in spring water under four different treatments: no salt addition (0) and adding 0.25, 1, and 4 g NaCl l−1. Respiration rate at 0.25 g NaCl l−1 was higher than that at 1 and 4 g l−1, the latter concentration presenting the lowest value. Acid phosphatase activity was highest in the treatment without salt addition. The activity of β-glucosidase was highest in the non-salted treatment and at 1 g NaCl l−1. Results reveal salinization as an important threat for catabolism-related functions of stream biofilms, which can compromise nutrient cycling in small shaded streams and consequently the ecosystem services that they provide.

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This work was financed by FCT/MEC through national funds and the co-funding by the FEDER, within the PT2020 Partnership Agreement, and COMPETE 2020, within the Project UID/BIA/04004/2013; Project ReNATURE—Valorization of the Natural Endogenous Resources of the Centro Region (Centro 2020, Centro-01-0145- FEDER-000007) also supports AM (fellowship reference ReNATURE – BPD11_2). The authors thank the efforts of the two anonymous reviewers and Felix Bärlocher for improving the manuscript and proofreading the English.

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Correspondence to Aingeru Martínez.

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Martínez, A., Gonçalves, A.L. & Canhoto, C. Salinization effects on stream biofilm functioning. Hydrobiologia (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-020-04199-w

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  • Acid phosphatase
  • β-glucosidase
  • Biofilm respiration
  • Fresh waters
  • Microcosm
  • Salt concentration