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Acta Limnologica Brasiliensia
Acta Limnologica Brasiliensia
Original Article

Drivers of zooplankton spatial dynamics in a small neotropical river

Condutores da dinâmica espacial do zooplâncton em um pequeno rio neotropical

Pablo Henrique dos Santos Picapedra; Cleomar Fernandes; Gilmar Baumgartner; Paulo Vanderlei Sanches

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Abstract: Aim: Our objective was to describe the structure and spatial patterns of the zooplankton community in a small Brazilian river system (Paranaíba River sub-basin) and evaluate the role of an oxbow lake in the dynamics of this community.

Methods: Zooplankton samples were collected from sites located in an oxbow lake and the Aporé River bed during the rainy and dry seasons. We collected these samples from the surface and bottom levels of two different zones (littoral and channel). For each hydrological season, analysis of variance was conducted to determine the differences in species richness and abundance of zooplankton among different sites (longitudinal), zones (lateral), and depths (vertical). Cluster analysis was performed to assess the similarity in species composition. In addition, a canonical correspondence analysis was used to select the environmental variables that best explained the variation in zooplankton abundance data.

Results: We recorded 152 species: 70 rotifers, 53 testate amoebae, 20 cladocerans, and 9 copepods. We observed changes in the species richness and abundance of zooplankton along the longitudinal axis of the river in both the rainy and dry seasons. However, we did not detect any lateral or vertical changes in these attributes. Cluster analysis also indicated that the greatest differences in species composition were in the longitudinal axis of the river. The longitudinal variability of zooplankton was mainly associated with the influence of an upstream oxbow lake, as well as the changes in water flow velocity, turbidity, and concentrations of suspended solids downstream.

Conclusions: Our results demonstrate the importance of a heterogeneity of hydrological characteristics as a structuring factor of the zooplankton community in the Aporé River. Thus, we highlight the relevance of actions to protect and maintain the natural characteristics of these environments.


Aporé river, meander, microhabitat, potamoplankton, taxonomic composition


Resumo: Objetivo: Nosso objetivo foi descrever a estrutura e os padrões espaciais da comunidade zooplanctônica em um pequeno sistema fluvial brasileiro (sub-bacia do rio Paranaíba) e avaliar o papel de um meandro na dinâmica dessa comunidade.

Métodos: Amostras de zooplâncton foram coletadas em pontos localizados em um meandro e no leito do rio Aporé durante os períodos chuvoso e seco. Coletamos essas amostras na superfície e fundo de duas zonas diferentes (litorânea e canal). Para cada período hidrológico, a análise de variância foi conduzida para determinar as diferenças na riqueza de espécies e abundância do zooplâncton entre os diferentes pontos (longitudinal), zonas (lateral) e profundidades (vertical). A análise de cluster foi realizada para avaliar a similaridade na composição de espécies. Além disso, uma análise de correspondência canônica foi usada para selecionar as variáveis ambientais que melhor explicaram a variação nos dados de abundância do zooplâncton.

Resultados: Registramos 152 espécies: 70 de rotíferos, 53 de amebas testáceas, 20 de cladóceros e 9 de copépodes. Observamos mudanças na riqueza de espécies e abundância do zooplâncton ao longo do eixo longitudinal do rio tanto no período chuvoso quanto no seco. No entanto, não detectamos nenhuma mudança lateral ou vertical nesses atributos. A análise de cluster também indicou que as maiores diferenças na composição de espécies estavam no eixo longitudinal do rio. A variabilidade longitudinal do zooplâncton foi associada principalmente a influência de um meandro a montante, bem como a mudanças na velocidade de fluxo d’água, turbidez e concentrações de sólidos suspensos à jusante.

Conclusões: Nossos resultados demonstraram a importância de uma heterogeneidade de características hidrológicas como fator estruturante da comunidade zooplanctônica no rio Aporé. Assim, destacamos a relevância de ações para proteger e manter as características naturais desses ambientes.


rio Aporé, meandro, micro-habitat, potamoplâncton, composição taxonômica


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