Rotifers in different environments of the Upper Paraná River floodplain (Brazil): richness, abundance and the relationship with connectivity

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Abstract

Rotifers were collected in the open water of twenty-eight locations (3 rivers, 12 connected lagoons and 13 isolated lagoons) of the upper Paraná River floodplain during the high water (February) and low water (August) period of 2001. Greatest species richness was found in rivers during the high water period. Isolated lagoons had the lowest species richness. Abundance was highest in connected lagoons followed by isolated lagoons and then rivers, but did not show marked spatial or temporal variation. Some species dominated in isolated lagoons during high water and others in connected lagoons during the low water. These results were contrary to our expectations; we expected to observe highest species richness and abundance of rotifers in isolated lagoons during both extremes of the hydrological cycle. Our findings suggest the importance of connectivity among environments to rotifer species richness. The absence of an intense flood during 2001 facilitated development of rotifer populations during the high water period due to lack of dilution and high availability of food resources (phytoplankton).

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