Memorias de investigación
Research Publications in journals:
Responses of riparian guilds to flowalterations in a Mediterranean stream

Research Areas
  • Plants and animal biology and ecology

Questions: Do Mediterranean riparian guilds show distinct responses to stream water declines? If observed,which are the most sensitive and resilient guilds and theirmost affected attributes? Location: Tie¿tar river below the Rosarito dam, central-western Spain. Methods: We identified riparian guilds based on key woody species features and species distribution within this Mediterranean river corridor, and evaluated similarity of their responses to long-term flow alteration (i.e. stream water declines since dam construction in 1959). Hierarchical cluster analysis was used to group surveyed vegetation bands according to species composition. The groups were designated as riparian guilds where each vegetation group comprising a guild: (1) contains species sharing similar features (using PCA); and (2) shares a similar environment (using DCA). Changes in several guild attributes (i.e. dominance and species composition, diversity and establishment patterns) during the regulated period were compared statistically. We used pre- and post-dam established vegetation bands identified based on old (1956) and modern (2006) aerial photographs and field measurements of woody species diameter. Results: Responses to flow alterations varied between guilds according to ecological requirements of their species. The ability to survive water stress (i.e. ?Xeric? guilds) and drag forces caused by floods (?Torrential? guilds) allowed certain pioneer shrub-dominated guilds (e.g. Flueggea tinctoria and Salix salviifolia) to spread on newly emerged surfaces downward to the main channel after flow alterations, although new shrubland had less species diversity than pre-dam shrubland. In contrast, new hydromorphological conditions following damming limited recruitment of native late-successional tree guilds sensitive to floods (to drag forces, inundation and anoxia; i.e. ?Slow-water? and ?Flood-sensitive?, respectively) and those with greater water requirements (i.e. ?Hydric?) (e.g. Alnus glutinosa and Celtis australis), although species diversity increased in this mature forest through co-existence of remaining riparian species and new arrival of upland species. Conclusions: Changes in several riparian attributes after flow alterations differed between guilds. Stream water declines after damming caused shifts in species-poor pioneer shrubland downwards to the watered channel, resulting in severe declines ofmaturenative forest.Understanding vegetation guild responses provides information about general trends in plant populations and assemblage structures expected to occur during river development and flow regulation, increasing our capacity to detect and synthesize complex flowalteration?riparian ecosystem response relationships, and anticipate irreversible impacts.
Journal of Vegetation Science
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Research Group, Departaments and Institutes related
  • Creador: Grupo de Investigación: Hidrobiología
  • Departamento: Ingeniería y Morfología del Terreno