FERREIRO nicolas Andres
Effects of macrophyte architecture and leaf shape complexity on structural parameters of the epiphytic algal community in a Pampean stream
FERREIRO NICOLAS ANDRES; GIORGI, ADONIS; FEIJOO CLAUDIA SILVINA
Lugar: Berlin; Año: 2013 vol. 47 p. 389 - 401
Habitat heterogeneity is one of the main factors determining distribution of organisms, and vegetation is of primary importance in shaping the structural environment in aquatic systems. The effect of macrophyte complexity on macroinvertebrates has been well researched; however, much remains to be revealed about the influence of complexity on epiphytic algae. Here, we used fractal dimension to study the effect of complexity at two scales, macrophyte architecture and leaf shape, on several parameters of the epiphytic algal community (number of individuals, biomass, taxon richness and diversity) in a Pampean stream. Four submerged macrophyte species with different complexities and associated algae were sampled in late spring, summer and autumn. Important differences were found in fractal dimension of the whole plant and leaves among macrophyte species. The particulate organic matter and chlorophyll a associated positively to leaf fractal dimension, but not to plant fractal dimension, partially supporting the hypothesis of a positive effect of macrophyte complexity on periphyton biomass. No association was found in fractal dimension with algal abundance, taxon richness or diversity. Complementary, a mesocosm experiment was performed with plastic imitations of different plant fractal dimensions. After four weeks, there were differences in chlorophyll a and autotrophy index between treatments that suggested a positive effect of complexity on autotrophic periphyton biomass. These results indicate that the well-known positive effect of macrophyte complexity on macroinvertebrates might be partially explained by a positive effect of complexity on periphyton biomass.