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Type: Journal article
Title: Floodplain connectivity facilitates significant export of zooplankton to the main River Murray channel during a flood event
Author: Furst, D.
Aldridge, K.
Shiel, R.
Ganf, G.
Mills, S.
Brookes, J.
Citation: Inland Waters, 2014; 4(4):413-424
Publisher: Freshwater Biological Association
Issue Date: 2014
ISSN: 2044-2041
Statement of
Deborah J. Furst, Kane T. Aldridge, Russell J. Shiel, George G. Ganf, Scott Mills, and Justin D. Brookes
Abstract: This study assessed the role that floods play in providing lateral connectivity between riverine habitats and floodplains, stimulating productivity and contributing zooplankton from the floodplain to the river channel. The study took place on the Chowilla Floodplain of the River Murray, Australia, and the adjacent River Murray Channel throughout the 2010–2011 floods. We found that a considerable transfer of zooplankton from the floodplain into the river channel occurred. Average zooplankton abundance was higher on the floodplain than the main river channel and increased the zooplankton abundance in the river channel downstream. At the peak of the flood, flows reached ~93 000 megalitres per day (ML d−1), inundating ~67 km2 of floodplain. At the time of this study, up to 6.3 ± 1.6 (SD) tonnes per day of zooplankton (dryweight) was being exported from the Chowilla floodplain. Differences in species assemblages were also observed within the River Murray, which seemed to be caused by the influence of the Chowilla Floodplain. This study demonstrated that floodplains provide significant zooplankton biomass, which constitutes a resource input into the riverine food web. These results provide some evidence for the Flood Pulse Concept, which highlights the importance of lateral hydrological connectivity between riverine habitats and floodplains in stimulating productivity and providing a linkage between habitats for biota. Management of regulated lowland rivers should consider not only the provision of water to the floodplain, but also the return of the floodplain wtaers to the river to sustain riverine food webs.
Keywords: Floodplain; Flood Pulse Concept; lower River Murray; transport; zooplankton
Rights: © International Society of Limnology 2014
DOI: 10.5268/IW-4.4.696
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