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Changes in Aquatic Vegetation in Rhine Floodplain Streams in Alsace in Relation to Disturbance

Michèle Trémolières, Roland Carbiener, Albert Ortscheit and Jean-Paul Klein
Journal of Vegetation Science
Vol. 5, No. 2 (Apr., 1994), pp. 169-178
Published by: Wiley
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3236149
Page Count: 10
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Changes in Aquatic Vegetation in Rhine Floodplain Streams in Alsace in Relation to Disturbance
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Abstract

Changes are described in aquatic vegetation in oligotrophic, groundwater-fed Rhine floodplain streams in Alsace (eastern France), resulting from disturbance. Disturbance factors include changes in nutrients, either permanent ones - effluent from a waste water treatment plant or trout hatcheries - or periodic ones: flooding. Regular inputs of high levels of phosphate and ammonia modified the macrophyte vegetation in these streams. The floristic composition, which was characteristic of oligotrophic waters upstream of the eutrophicated sector, changed to that of a eutrophic situation as originally found downstream. Periodic disturbance by floods which normally occur once a year, irregularly eutrophicates the small streams, causing the development of a mixture of eutrophic and oligotrophic species. Six macrophyte communities are distinguished, indicating different trophic levels. The aquatic vegetation is adapted to the variations of phosphate and ammonia levels. Hence, aquatic macrophytes can be used as bio-indicators of fluctuations in water nutrient levels in relation to the type of disturbance.

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