Functional diversity and functional traits of periphytic algae during a short-term successional process in a Neotropical floodplain lake

Braz J Biol. 2015 Aug;75(3):587-97. doi: 10.1590/1519-6984.17813. Epub 2015 Aug 25.


Due to the lack of knowledge in periphytic algae functional diversity patterns during successional processes in floodplains, the present study aimed to analyze the dynamics of the functional traits and functional diversity of periphytic species during a short-term successional process in a floodplain lake. The functional traits analyzed were size class, growth form, strength of attachment to the substratum, and functional strategies. We evaluated the dynamics of these traits, considering richness, density and biovolume during an 18-day colonization in two hydrological periods. The functional diversity was assessed using the mean pairwise distance index (MPD). Dominant functional traits during the colonization changed in association with the flood pulse. Under the pulse effect, higher development of C-S strategist, loosely attached, filamentous and nanoperiphytic species occurred. The highest values of functional diversity were associated with the algal biomass peak during the colonization and the high water hydrological period, possibly indicating greater efficiency in the ecosystem functioning. These findings show the importance of the functional traits approach in periphyton studies and that the selection of functional traits must be performed taking into account traits that represent the species niche.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biodiversity*
  • Biomass*
  • Brazil
  • Lakes
  • Microalgae / growth & development
  • Microalgae / physiology*