Effects of the water discharge on periphyton abundance and diversity in a large river (River Danube, Hungary)

Ács, Éva and Kiss, Keve Tihamér (1993) Effects of the water discharge on periphyton abundance and diversity in a large river (River Danube, Hungary). HYDROBIOLOGIA, 249 (1-3). pp. 125-133. ISSN 0018-8158 (print), 1573-5117 (online)

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This paper examines the relevance of intermediate disturbance theory in the context of in a large river the algal flora attaching to artificial substrata. It was observed that the theory is in good agreement with most of the communities analysed, however, with different frequency intervals compared to phytoplankton. Floods provided the most significant disturbances. As a rough generalization, we can say that in case of floods following each other in 8-14 days, respectively, the disturbance is of medium frequency. In case of 8 days, high frequency is more typical while in case of 14 days, low frequency is more characteristic. Owing to the fact that riverine periphytic algal organisms are attached in different ways and with differing efficiencies, the changes in the total mass occurring as a result of changes in water discharge lead to changes in diversity. The analysis of individual numbers can help in investigating the intensity of the disturbing effect on the algal communities. Negative correlation was found between water discharge and numbers of individuals, that is, the numbers of algae increase with low water discharge and decrease with high water level in the river. This second observation is valid only within a certain range of discharges (in this case up to 100 m3 s-1), which will be specific to particular rivers and individual reaches. Below the upper limit of the range, the increased water flows carry more nutrients to the organisms but with no severe wash-off effect. Beyond the upper limit (in this case in range 100-400 m3 s-1) the numbers of individuals is roughly in inverse proportion to the wash-off effect of the current, and the community is in equilibrium. In cases when discharge surpasses 400 m3 s-1 decrease in individual numbers is general. We suggest that in the environments similar to the study area, the periphyton of the artificial substrata (e.g., pontoons) undergo similar processes. In respect of the periphyton formed on the surface of the riverbeds in large rivers with considerable changes in water level, a more complex system can be supposed where part of the periphyton is periodically dried and flooded alternately.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science / természettudomány > QE Geology / földtudományok > QE08 Hydrosphere. Hydrology / hidroszféra, hidrológia
Q Science / természettudomány > QH Natural history / természetrajz > QH301 Biology / biológia
Depositing User: Erika Bilicsi
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2013 08:44
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2013 08:44

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