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Golden mussel geographic distribution paradox: how can stream theories explain?

International Journal of Hydrology
Paulo Ricardo da Silva Camargo,1 Luiz Felipe Godinho Barreiros,1 Newton Pimentel Ulhôa Barbosa,2 Antônio Valadão Cardoso,3 Paulo Santos Assis,4 Afonso Pelli1

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Aquatic ecosystems have biological, social, and economic importance. Between the 1980s and 2000s, a few theoretical concepts emerged that attempt to provide a better understanding of the function and dynamics of freshwater ecosystems, including biotic and abiotic variables. The rationale for our research was based on observations of the distribution and abundance of an exotic bivalve mollusc, the golden mussel Limnoperna fortunei (Dunker, 1857). The species has been recorded from several river basins, but only occurs in large water bodies and fails to reach first-order streams. This study provides an overview of the main stream ecology concepts developed to explain the dynamics of lotic ecosystems in an attempt to solve this paradox. The river continuum concept was the first of many in river ecology. These theoretical concepts are not mutually exclusive, but interdependent. It is expected the main reasons for the non-occurrence of L. fortunei in small streams are twofold: fluctuations in physical and hydrologic conditions in small streams, generating instability, and reduced availability of plankton in first- and second-order streams.


system dynamics, ecological interactions, aquatic ecosystems