Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 14, Issue 7, pp 1699–1718 | Cite as

Primary producers in a Pampean stream: temporal variation and structuring role



Low current velocities, high nutrient levels, the lack of riparian forest vegetation, and the development of dense and rich macrophyte communities characterize Pampean streams. The objective of this study was to describe the main physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of a headwater Pampean stream as well as to analyze the role of macrophytes and phytobenthos. The study was conducted in a stream considered to be not much disturbed by human activities. Samples of water and organisms (macrophytes, benthic algae and invertebrates) were taken monthly for 14 months in two sampling stations, in fast flow and slow flow sites. Macrophyte biomass and diversity increased in spring and summer, and they decreased in autumn, when the plant community was greatly affected by an important flood. Phytobenthos biomass was lower in late summer, possibly due to the establishment of a dense cover of the floating macrophyte Lemna gibba L. Density of amphipods and gastropods greatly increases in spring and summer, jointly with the macrophyte development. Analysis of correlation showed that current velocity is the most important factor influencing macrophyte biomass and phytobenthos structure, while depth, nutrients, and herbivores are linked factors. Pampean streams could be considered systems dynamically fragile, because habitat heterogeneity is generated by aquatic vegetation, a substratum that varies along time.


Current velocity Herbivores Macrophytes Phytobenthos Streams 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Program de Investigación en Ecología AcuáticaDepartamento de Ciencias Básicas, Universidad Nacional de LujánLujánArgentina
  2. 2.CONICETArgentina
  3. 3.Lab. Limnología,Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales (UBA)Buenos AiresArgentina

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