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Impact of the 2002 extreme flood on aquatic macrophytes in a former side channel of the river Danube (Austria)

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Abstract:

This study evaluates the impact of the 2002 extreme flood on the aquatic vegetation in a former Danube side channel called "Mitterwasser" in Linz (Upper Austria). The Mitterwasser is connected to the main river channel only at its lower end and is influenced by backflow of Danube River water in periods of higher discharge. From 2001 to 2003 the macrophyte abundance was assessed in contiguous survey units following the European Standard EN 14184 (ANONYMOUS 2003). The two survey units located next to the confluence of the side channel with the Danube River were most affected by the flood and showed a significant decrease in plant abundance, most probably caused by the strong erosive effect of the backflow from the River Danube into the Mitterwasser. A pronounced change in species composition was noticed in these hydrologically most disturbed survey units. In contrast, macrophyte abundance in the upstream part of the Mitterwasser was not significantly impacted by the flood.

Keywords: AQUATIC PLANTS; DANUBE RIVER; DISTURBANCE; FLOODPLAIN; NATURA 2000; VEGETATION SURVEY

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-06-01

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  • The Belgian Journal of Botany (now known as Plant Ecology and Evolution) is an international journal open to all fields of plant sciences. Please note, however, that papers restricted to purely nomenclatural matters or to floristical data of only local interest will not be accepted. The Journal appears in one volume of two issues per year. It publishes reviews, original research papers, short notes, letters to the editor, and book reviews. Click here for current issues of this journal
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