Intra-Annual Variation in Benthic Organic Matter in A Saline, Semi-Arid Stream of Southeast Spain (Chicamo Stream)

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During 1994 and 1998-1999, temporal changes in the benthic organic matter (BOM) and its fractions (CBOM = coarse; FBOM = fine; UBOM = ultrafine) were studied in a 354-m reach of Chicamo stream, a saline (9.5 g l-1), temporary semi-arid stream located in southeast Spain. Both time periods differed in their frequency and intensity of spates occurring before sampling. BOM at all sites was dominated by FBOM, followed by UBOM and CBOM. Significant differences in total BOM and its fractions occurred among sampling sites, years, months and dates, illustrating the complex temporal variation of benthic organic matter. Positive correlations were found for FBOM and TBOM with discharge, for CBOM with water depth, and between total BOM, FBOM and UBOM and biomass of periphyton. Principal Component Analysis and Cluster Analysis revealed five different groups, each characterised by different patterns of dominance by fractions of BOM.

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