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Environ Pollut. 2002;120(2):207-18.

The assessment of water quality in the Lower Luján River (Buenos Aires, Argentina): phytoplankton and algal bioassays.

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Dpto Biologia, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Ciudad Universitaria, Argentina.


The monitoring of river phytoplankton and several hydrological, physical and chemical variables, in combination with bioassays using Selenastrum capricornutum Printz, allowed the characterisation of three distinct reaches of the Lower River Luján. The upstream stretch, characterised by the lowest depth and discharge, registered the highest nutrient, dissolved heavy metal and chlorophyll a concentrations in accordance with low phytoplankton diversity and the occurrence of several species typical of organically polluted lowland rivers. A downstream improvement, concomitant to increasing river discharge, is revealed by a progressive decrease of organic pollution parameters even though algal toxicity is registered through bioassays. The water input from the Parana River through the G. Arias Channel plays an important role in the regulation of the limnology of the Lower Luján River. As a result of marked increasing discharge, depth and width, there is a decrease in nutrient concentration and phytoplankton density and an increase in dissolved oxygen concentration. Likewise, algal growth rates in the bioassays showed less toxic effect.

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