Chapter

Flood Pulsing and the Development and Maintenance of Biodiversity in Floodplains

Wolfgang J. Junk and Karl Matthias Wantzen

in Ecology of Freshwater and Estuarine Wetlands

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 2007 | ISBN: 9780520247772
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520932890 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520247772.003.0011
Flood Pulsing and the Development and Maintenance of Biodiversity in Floodplains

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Twenty-five percent of the earth's total vertebrate biodiversity resides in inland waters and wetlands. Yet wetlands are highly threatened ecosystems. The impacts of anthropogenic activities cascade down entire catchments to the rivers and associated wetlands. The floodplains of most rivers are influenced by reservoirs, dikes, and channel modification, which alter the flood regimes and interrupt longitudinal and lateral connectivity. This chapter examines flood pulsing in wetlands in terms of their hydrology, describes adaptations of plants and animals that transition between terrestrial and aquatic conditions, and evaluates the importance of wetlands for development and maintenance of biodiversity at landscape scales. It also discusses the impact of human modifications of the flood pulse on species diversity, connectivity between floodplain water bodies and permanent rivers or lakes, strategies to survive flooding and drought, speciation and extinction, and species exchange between floodplains and permanent water bodies and between floodplains and terrestrial habitats.

Keywords: flood pulsing; biodiversity; floodplains; speciation; extinction; species exchange; permanent water bodies; terrestrial habitats; drought; wetlands

Chapter.  12591 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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