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Influence of area, habitat and water chemistry on richness and composition of macrophyte assemblages in southern Brazilian wetlands

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Questions: Two hypotheses were tested: (1) physical features, such as wetland surface area and habitat diversity, together with water chemistry, are important determinants of species richness and composition of macrophyte assemblages and (2) species richness and composition of macrophyte assemblages differ between wetlands of different types (i.e., palustrine versus lacustrine) and between wetlands of different hydrologies (i.e. permanent versus intermittent).

Location: A subtropical coastal plain segment (2500 km2) of southern Brazil.

Methods: Quarterly collections were carried out in 15 wetlands (2004-2005) in southern Brazil. Differences in richness over time were tested using repeated measures ANOVA. Stepwise multiple regression was performed to investigate relationships between total richness and environmental variables. Significance of differences between wetland types and hydroperiods on species composition was verified by MRPP (Multi-Response Permutation Procedure). The influence of the environmental variables on species composition was assessed using CCA (Canonical Correspondence Analysis).

Results: Macrophyte species richness changed with time, was not significantly different between wetland types, but was higher in permanent wetlands than in intermittent ones. Area, habitat diversity and soluble reactive phosphorus concentration explained 76% of the variation in species richness. Species composition was different between permanent and intermittent wetlands, although it was not significantly different between wetland types. Area, habitat diversity and water chemistry explained 50.1% of species composition.

Conclusions: Species richness and composition of wetland macrophytes were mainly determined by area, habitat diversity and hydroperiod. These results can be used for the development of conservation and management programs in southern Brazil.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-04-01

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