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Variation in phytoplankton composition and limnological features in a water–water ecotone of the Lower Paraná Basin (Argentina)

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1. Structure and dynamics of phytoplankton were studied at six sites in a reach of the Lower Paraná River floodplain, from the main course to a marginal shallow lake, connected through a stream. This system is defined as a water–water ecotone and thus, the aim of this work is to analyse the spatial changes of phytoplankton along the transitional system.
2. Temporal fluctuations in number of species and phytoplankton density were more pronounced in the river than in the shallow lake. Even though most species were ubiquitous, there was a clear segregation of the most abundant populations across the ecotone. Aulacoseira granulata var. granulata and other centric diatoms decreased towards the lentic system.
3. Transparency varied according to river discharge, being higher in the lake during high water phases, while the opposite behaviour was observed during dry periods. These fluctuations were related to precipitation and resuspension processes.
4. Nitrate concentration diminished towards the lake while soluble reactive phosphorus remained fairly homogeneous across the ecotone.
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Keywords: Paraná River; South America; ecotone; floodplain; phytoplankton

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2001

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