Does flood rhythm drive ecosystem responses in tropical riverscapes?

T.D. Jardine, N.R. Bond, M.A. Burford, M.J. Kennard, D.P. Ward, P. Bayliss, Peter Davies, Michael Douglas, S.K. Hamilton, J.M. Melack, Bob Naiman, Neil Pettit, Brad Pusey, Danielle Warfe, S.E. Bunn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

© 2015 by the Ecological Society of America. Biotic communities are shaped by adaptations from generations of exposure to selective pressures by recurrent and often infrequent events. In large rivers, floods can act as significant agents of change, causing considerable physical and biotic disturbance while often enhancing productivity and diversity. We show that the relative balance between these seemingly divergent outcomes can be explained by the rhythmicity, or predictability of the timing and magnitude, of flood events. By analyzing biological data for large rivers that span a gradient of rhythmicity in the Neotropics and tropical Australia, we find that systems with rhythmic annual floods have higher fish species richness, more stable avian populations, and elevated rates of riparian forest production compared with those with arrhythmic flood pulses. Intensification of the hydrological cycle driven by climate change, coupled with reductions in runoff due to water extractions for human use and altered discharge from impoundments, is expected to alter the hydrologic rhythmicity of floodplain rivers with significant consequences for both biodiversity and productivity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)684-692
JournalEcology
Volume96
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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ecosystem response
ecosystems
rivers
river
productivity
biocenosis
riparian forest
hydrologic cycle
riparian forests
hydrological cycle
timber production
impoundment
floodplains
floodplain
runoff
species richness
climate change
biodiversity
disturbance
species diversity

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Jardine, T. D., Bond, N. R., Burford, M. A., Kennard, M. J., Ward, D. P., Bayliss, P., ... Bunn, S. E. (2015). Does flood rhythm drive ecosystem responses in tropical riverscapes? Ecology, 96(3), 684-692. https://doi.org/10.1890/14-0991.1
Jardine, T.D. ; Bond, N.R. ; Burford, M.A. ; Kennard, M.J. ; Ward, D.P. ; Bayliss, P. ; Davies, Peter ; Douglas, Michael ; Hamilton, S.K. ; Melack, J.M. ; Naiman, Bob ; Pettit, Neil ; Pusey, Brad ; Warfe, Danielle ; Bunn, S.E. / Does flood rhythm drive ecosystem responses in tropical riverscapes?. In: Ecology. 2015 ; Vol. 96, No. 3. pp. 684-692.
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Jardine, TD, Bond, NR, Burford, MA, Kennard, MJ, Ward, DP, Bayliss, P, Davies, P, Douglas, M, Hamilton, SK, Melack, JM, Naiman, B, Pettit, N, Pusey, B, Warfe, D & Bunn, SE 2015, 'Does flood rhythm drive ecosystem responses in tropical riverscapes?' Ecology, vol. 96, no. 3, pp. 684-692. https://doi.org/10.1890/14-0991.1

Does flood rhythm drive ecosystem responses in tropical riverscapes? / Jardine, T.D.; Bond, N.R.; Burford, M.A.; Kennard, M.J.; Ward, D.P.; Bayliss, P.; Davies, Peter; Douglas, Michael; Hamilton, S.K.; Melack, J.M.; Naiman, Bob; Pettit, Neil; Pusey, Brad; Warfe, Danielle; Bunn, S.E.

In: Ecology, Vol. 96, No. 3, 2015, p. 684-692.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Jardine, T.D.

AU - Bond, N.R.

AU - Burford, M.A.

AU - Kennard, M.J.

AU - Ward, D.P.

AU - Bayliss, P.

AU - Davies, Peter

AU - Douglas, Michael

AU - Hamilton, S.K.

AU - Melack, J.M.

AU - Naiman, Bob

AU - Pettit, Neil

AU - Pusey, Brad

AU - Warfe, Danielle

AU - Bunn, S.E.

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AB - © 2015 by the Ecological Society of America. Biotic communities are shaped by adaptations from generations of exposure to selective pressures by recurrent and often infrequent events. In large rivers, floods can act as significant agents of change, causing considerable physical and biotic disturbance while often enhancing productivity and diversity. We show that the relative balance between these seemingly divergent outcomes can be explained by the rhythmicity, or predictability of the timing and magnitude, of flood events. By analyzing biological data for large rivers that span a gradient of rhythmicity in the Neotropics and tropical Australia, we find that systems with rhythmic annual floods have higher fish species richness, more stable avian populations, and elevated rates of riparian forest production compared with those with arrhythmic flood pulses. Intensification of the hydrological cycle driven by climate change, coupled with reductions in runoff due to water extractions for human use and altered discharge from impoundments, is expected to alter the hydrologic rhythmicity of floodplain rivers with significant consequences for both biodiversity and productivity.

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Jardine TD, Bond NR, Burford MA, Kennard MJ, Ward DP, Bayliss P et al. Does flood rhythm drive ecosystem responses in tropical riverscapes? Ecology. 2015;96(3):684-692. https://doi.org/10.1890/14-0991.1