Longitudinal distribution and seasonality of macroalgae in a subtropical stream impacted by organic pollution

Distribuição longitudinal e sazonalidade de macroalgas em um riacho subtropical impactado por poluição orgânica

AIM: This study was carried out to assess longitudinal and temporal distribution and the effects of organic pollution on macroalgal communities in a subtropical stream; METHODS: The occurrence and percent cover of stream macroalgae were investigated during seasonal period in four sampling sites along the course of the Cascavel Stream, in Paraná State, subtropical area of Brazil. Sampling sites were randomly chosen; however, their location in relation to urban organic pollution sources was taken into consideration. Besides, several stream variables usually related to organic pollution in aquatic ecosystems were measured; RESULTS: Eleven macroalgal taxa were found during the samplings. Chlorophyta was the prevailing division (4 species or 36.3% of the total richness), followed by Cyanophyta and Rhodophyta (3 or 27.3%) and Heterokontophyta (1 or 9.1%). Analysis of variance (ANOVA) showed no significant differences in species diversity, percent cover and diversity index among seasons or the sampling sites. In addition, species diversity was not correlated with any environmental variable in particular. On the other hand, the relative composition of the stream macroalgal communities showed wide spatial and temporal variation. Thus, Chlorophyta had higher values of richness and percent cover in sampling site with higher levels of organic pollution, while Rhodophyta was never found in this segment. Taking seasonality into consideration, Chlorophyta had higher values of percent cover in winter, but Rhodophyta and Cyanophyta in spring and fall, respectively; CONCLUSIONS: In general terms, in this study macroalgal community structures were slightly affected by organic pollution, mainly by increase in richness and percent cover of Chlorophyta associated with the absence of Rhodophyta in the most polluted sampling site. The analysis of the richness throughout the stretch of the stream showed that the highest values were found in the intermediate part, being partly in accordance with the RCC (River Continuum Concept).

local-scale variation; Brazil; anthropic impact; environmental assessment

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