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The impact of significant input of fine sediment on benthic fauna at tributary junctions: a case study of the Bermejo-Paraguay River confluence, Argentina

Blettler, Martín C. M.; Amsler, Mario L.; Ezcurra de Drago, Inés; Espinola, Luis A.; Eberle, Eliana; Paira, Aldo; Best, James L.; Parsons, Daniel R.; Drago, Edmundo E.

Authors

Martín C. M. Blettler

Mario L. Amsler

Inés Ezcurra de Drago

Luis A. Espinola

Eliana Eberle

Aldo Paira

James L. Best

Edmundo E. Drago

Abstract

This study examines the morphological features, suspended sediment inputs and hydraulic conditions within a large river in association with ecological patterns before and after a tributary confluence. In order to examine these effects, the macroinvertebrate distributions from three reaches of the Paraguay and Bermejo Rivers (Paraguay-Argentina) are investigated. The Bermejo River is a tributary that supplies significant quantities of fine sediment to the Paraguay River, primarily in suspension. Two reaches were examined on the Paraguay River, upstream and downstream of the Bermejo River junction, with the third study reach located on the Bermejo River, upstream of the confluence with the Paraguay River. The results provide clear evidence that a significantly increased loading of fine sediment at a river confluence has effects on the distribution and potential movement of benthic invertebrates in the lotic environment by representing physical barriers at affected sites. These effects may be important at both local and regional scales, and such increases in suspended sediment (especially associated with anthropogenic change) may thus pose a major threat to ecosystem integrity that has been historically underestimated.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2015-03
Journal Ecohydrology
Print ISSN 1936-0584
Electronic ISSN 1936-0592
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Issue 2
Pages 340-352
Institution Citation Blettler, M. C. M., Amsler, M. L., Ezcurra de Drago, I., Espinola, L. A., Eberle, E., Paira, A., …Drago, E. E. (2015). The impact of significant input of fine sediment on benthic fauna at tributary junctions: a case study of the Bermejo-Paraguay River confluence, Argentina. Ecohydrology, 8(2), 340-352. https://doi.org/10.1002/eco.1511
DOI https://doi.org/10.1002/eco.1511
Keywords Ecohydrology, Benthic invertebrates, Fine sediment load, Confluence sediment dynamics, Large river
Publisher URL http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/eco.1511/abstract
Additional Information This is the author's accepted version of an article published in: Ecohydrology, 2015, v.8 issue 2.

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