Brazilian Archives of Biology and Technology
On-line version ISSN 1678-4324
DIBBLE, Eric David and THOMAZ, Sidinei Magela. A simple method to estimate spatial complexity in aquatic plants. Braz. arch. biol. technol. [online]. 2006, vol.49, n.3, pp.421-428. ISSN 1678-4324. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1516-89132006000400010.
We used a computerized approach to measure spatial complexity for the structural habitat provided by eight aquatic plant species collected from backwater lagoons located in the Upper Paraná River floodplain, Brazil. The plant species were: Cabomba furcata Schult. and Schult.f., Eichhornia azurea (Sw.) Kunth (stems and roots), Eichhornia crassipes (Mart.) Solms, Egeria najas Planchon, Heteranthera cf. zosterifolia, Potamogeton cf pusillus, Utricularia foliosa L., and Nymphaea amazonum Mart. and Zucc. The upper 0.5 m length of the terminal stems was quantified for complexity. Mean frequency and length of the interstices were significantly different among plant species. Spatial complexity varied (F = 17.30; p < 0.0001) among the different plant species with E. azurea roots and U. foliosa exhibiting the highest levels and E. azurea and N. amazonum stems the lowest. These unique spatial complexities suggested that aquatic plants possessed a differential contribution to the habitat heterogeneity in Upper Paraná River lagoons.
Keywords : Aquatic plant structure; spatial complexity; architecture; habitat heterogeneity.