An evaluation was made of the quality of samples of water and sediment collected from a series of reservoirs in the Tietê River (SP), based on limnological and ecotoxicological analyses. The samples were collected during two periods (Feb and Jul 2000) from 15 sampling stations. Acute toxicity bioassays were performed using the test organism Daphnia similis, while chronic bioassays were carried out withCeriodaphnia dubia and Danio rerio larvae. The water samples were analyzed for total nutrients, total suspended matter and total cadmium, chromium, copper and zinc concentrations, while the sediment samples were examined for organic matter, granulometry and potentially bioavailable metals (cadmium, chromium, copper and zinc). The results obtained for the limnological variable, revealed differences in the water quality, with high contribution of nutrients and metals for Tietê and Piracicaba rivers, besides the incorporation and sedimentation, consequently causing a reduction of materials in Barra Bonita reservoir, thus promoting the improvement of the water quality in the other reservoirs. The toxicity bioassays revealed acute toxicity for Daphnia similis only in the reservoirs located below Barra Bonita dam. On the other hand, chronic toxicity for Ceriodaphnia dubia and acute for Danio rerio showed a different pattern, decreasing in magnitude from Barra Bonita to Três Irmãos, demonstrating an environmental degradation gradient in the reservoirs.
reservoirs ecology; limnology; ecotoxicology; Tietê River