Create your own conference schedule! Click here for full instructions

Abstract Detail

Tropical Biology Section

Bedoya, Ana María [1], Fernández, Mateo [1], Madriñán, Santiago [1], Rial, Ana Isabel [1].

Aquatic plants of the Orinoco basin of Colombia: inventory, plant communities and their habitats.

The Orinoco basin ranges from the Andes to the Atlantic in Venezuela. In Colombia the area is dominated by savannas but also includes landscapes of the Andean foothills and the Guiana shield, maintained by the flooding of the Orinoco River and its tributaries. This constitutes a complex mosaic of water bodies and wide seasonal wetlands that hold a diverse but poorly known aquatic flora. We aimed to catalogue the entire herbaceous flora of the Orinoco Basin of Colombia along flooded savannas, Mauritia flexuosa palm swamps, rivers, lakes, streams, drained rocky outgrowths, river shores and white sand flooded savannas, which are the main aquatic habitats that make up the landscape. To identify plant associations to specific aquatic habitats, we conducted hierarchical cluster analysis. Our study included a total of approximately 966 voucher specimens, representing 170 identified species in 107 genera and 58 families. The best represented genera were Utricularia (12 species) and Ludwigia (13 species). Hierarchical cluster analysis showed eight clusters of species, each one associated to one of the main aquatic habitats mentioned above. All the groups included plants that were only found in the associated habitat. The first cluster was the most species-rich group and included 34 species associated to flooded savannas, 16 of which were only found in this habitat. Plants within this group are all helophytes like Byttneria scabra and Xyris jupicai. The second largest group included 25 helophyte and hydrophyte species, mainly associated to streams, 14 of them found only in this habitat such as Macarenia clavijera, an endemic Podostemaceae. The smallest cluster was associated to river shores. Our results show that although at first sight the Orinoco basin in Colombia looks like a uniform grass dominated landscape, it holds a great amount of aquatic vegetation specific to different habitats. Currently, the region represents a challenge to conservation due to soy and oil palm plantations, as well as petroleum oil exploration and exploitation. We hope that our study will contribute to the understanding of the aquatic ecosystems of the region as a step towards generating efficient conservation strategies.

Broader Impacts:

Log in to add this item to your schedule

Related Links:
Labotario de Botánica y Sistemática

1 - Universidad de los Andes, Laboratorio de Botánica y Sistemática, Apartado Aéreo 4976, Bogotá, DC, 00001, Colombia

aquatic plants
Orinoco basin
plant comunities.

Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Session: P
Location: Grand Salon A - D/Riverside Hilton
Date: Monday, July 29th, 2013
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PTB002
Abstract ID:383
Candidate for Awards:None

Copyright © 2000-2012, Botanical Society of America. All rights reserved