Temporal and spatial patterns based on sediment and sediment-water interface characteristics along a cascade of reservoirs (Paranapanema River, south-east Brazil)
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Physical and chemical characteristics of the sediments in a cascade of eight reservoirs located in the Paranapanema River (south-east Brazil) were analysed during two consecutive years during summer (January), autumn (April), winter (July) and spring (October) of 2000 and 2001, respectively. The granulometric texture, organic matter content and nutrient concentration (total nitrogen and phosphorus) were determined in the superficial sediment of 19 sampling stations, as well as the temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, conductivity and redox potential in the bottom layer of the water column. Seasonal and spatial changes were observed for both years, especially for organic matter and nutrient concentrations. Three different areas could be identified along the river, which corresponded to the upper, middle and lower Paranapanema basin. The first area was characterized by an increase of nutrients and organic matter in the sediments and a decrease of temperature and dissolved oxygen in the downstream direction. The second one represented a region where fluctuations in nutrient and organic matter concentrations and a reduction in dissolved oxygen were observed. In the third area, there was an increase in nutrient and organic matter in the sediments and also an increase in temperature and dissolved oxygen towards the river mouth. The results of the principal components analysis, using water and sediments variables, showed the ordination of sampling stations by periods: wet (January-April) and dry (July-October) during 2000. This pattern was also verified during 2001, but with slight changes, probably due to the increase in the rains which would have produced certain homogenization effects along the river.