Effects of river ice on riparian vegetation
2011 (English)In: Freshwater Biology, ISSN 0046-5070, E-ISSN 1365-2427, Vol. 56, no 6, 1095-1105 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
1. Many rivers and streams experience pronounced ice dynamics caused by the formation of anchor and frazil ice, leading to flooding and disturbance of riparian and aquatic communities. The effects of dynamic ice conditions on riverine biota are little known.
2. We studied the formation of anchor ice in natural streams over 2 years, and assessed the effects of anchor ice on riparian vegetation by comparing sites with frequent or abundant and little or no anchor ice formation. We also studied the direct impact of ice on riparian plants by experimentally creating ice in the riparian zone over three winters, and by exposing plants of different life-forms to ‑18oC cold ice in the laboratory.
3. Riparian species richness per 1-m2 plot was higher at sites affected by anchor ice than at sites where anchor ice was absent or rare. Dominance was lower at anchor ice sites, suggesting that ice disturbance enhanced species richness. Species composition was more homogenous among plots at anchor ice sites. Experimentally creating riparian ice corroborated the comparative results, with species richness increasing in ice-treated plots compared to controls, irrespective of whether the sites showed natural anchor ice.
4. Because of human alterations of running waters, the natural effects of river ice on stream hydrology, geomorphology and ecology are little known. Global warming in northern streams will lead to more dynamic ice conditions, offering new challenges for aquatic organisms and river management. We expect that the results discussed here can stimulate new research, contributing to a better understanding of ecosystem function during winter.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Blackwell Publishing , 2011. Vol. 56, no 6, 1095-1105 p.
anchor ice, frazil ice, riparian vegetation, rivers, Sweden
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-38334DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2427.2010.02553.xOAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-38334DiVA: diva2:375258