The impact of environmental factors on the distribution pattern of aquatic plants along the Danube River corridor (Slovakia)

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Abstract

The aim of the study was to evaluate pattern of the aquatic macrophyte species distribution along the Danube fluvial corridor in Slovakia, and to identify the impact of environmental abiotic parameters on macrophyte species diversity. Field sampling was performed in the period 1999-2005 from the boat. Aquatic habitats were divided into 365 survey unit (SU). The survey of aquatic macrophytes and abiotic parameters followed the European standard approach EN 144184 2003. The plant mass estimate (PME - a semi-quantitative estimation of the amount of individual species in a SU, which takes into account three-dimensional development of plant stands) was estimated according to a five-point-scale in each SU; environmental pattern, were assessed over six abiotic parameters (river km, bank type, sediment type, flow velocity class, land-use type, and heavily man-modified water bodies). Altogether, four hydrologic connectivity types of aquatic habitats were distinguished: the Danube River, Open Arms, Separated Arms, and Seepage Water-bodies. In total, 54 aquatic macrophytes were recorded for the whole data set of the Danube fluvial corridor. The PME data of true aquatic macrophytes and the length of SUs created a basis for numerical derivates, relative plant mass (RPM), mean mass indices (MMT, MMO) and the distribution ratio (d). The results correspond with comparable studies on this topic: the highest macrophytes species diversity occurred in Separated Arms. On the contrary, macrophytes had the lowest richness in the Danube River main channel, although their diversity was slightly higher in heavily man-modified water bodies (such as the hydropower plant's reservoir and the abandoned main channel of the so-called Old Danube). Our results suggest that the lateral connectivity types of the river water bodies, primarily characterised by different hydrologic dynamics and human impact expressed as land-use types are responsible for the variability of aquatic macrophyte assemblages along the Danube corridor in Slovakia. © 2007 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

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Oťaheľová, H., Valachovič, M., & Hrivnák, R. (2007). The impact of environmental factors on the distribution pattern of aquatic plants along the Danube River corridor (Slovakia). Limnologica, 37(4), 290–302. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.limno.2007.07.003

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