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The Impact of Land Use Transformations on Zooplankton Communities in a Small Mountain River (The Corgo River, Northern Portugal)

By Łukasz Sługocki, Robert Czerniawski, Monika Kowalska-Góralska, Magdalena Senze, Anabela Reis, João S. Carrola and Carlos A. Teixeira


Transformation of the river catchment and the river bed cause significant changes in the functioning of river ecosystems. The main effects of anthropogenic transformations are hydrological changes, such as lower current velocity or an increase of nutrient content, and higher temperature. Zooplankton reacts rapidly to the new environmental conditions in rivers, increasing its richness and abundance. We tried to answer two questions: what type of catchment use has a greater influence on the zooplankton communities in a river and how do dam impoundments influence the zooplankton communities downstream? The study was conducted in the Corgo river (drainage of the Douro river, Northern Portugal) at 17 sampling sites in the lotic, free-flowing sections. Crustaceans present in the Corgo can attain relatively high densities in the rural section, which offers them better trophic conditions. The urban catchment use and the presence of dams have a greater impact on the rotifer density and the increase of zooplankton density downstream. The results of this study confirm that zooplankton properties allow for the evaluation of the degree of river-bed transformation

Topics: land use, river bed changes, ecohydrology, organic matter, river continuum, Medicine, R
Publisher: MDPI AG
Year: 2018
DOI identifier: 10.3390/ijerph16010020
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