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Adaptations of fish species to oxygen depletion in a central Amazonian floodplain lake


Junk,  W. J.
Working Group Tropical Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Limnology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Soares, M. G. M., Menezes, N. A., & Junk, W. J. (2006). Adaptations of fish species to oxygen depletion in a central Amazonian floodplain lake. Hydrobiologia, 568, 353-367. doi:10.1007/s10750-006-0207-z.

Pronounced seasonal and daily oxygen concentration changes are characteristic for Amazonian floodplain lakes. Studies on the fish fauna of the Lago Camaleão, Solimões River, Amazonas, Brazil, showed several fish species which are able to survive prolonged periods of heavy hypoxia. Twenty species belonging to eight families were observed in the laboratory in order to determine their respiratory adaptations to hypoxic conditions and oxygen concentrations at which the fish present respiratory adaptations. Finally, the fish species were distributed throughout the habitats of Lake Camaleão according to their adaptation responses. Ten fish species used the surface water for aquatic surface respiration, four species used atmospheric oxygen for aerial respiration, four species used oxygen supplied by the exudation of the roots of floating macrophytes and two exhibited a high tolerance to hypoxic conditions, and well-developed physiological biochemical mechanisms. The fish fauna is well adapted to low oxygen concentrations. The large variety of morpho-anatomical adaptations associated with biochemical and physiological mechanisms to tolerate hypoxic and anoxic conditions enable the 20 fish species to exploit several habitats of Lago Camaleão, such as floating aquatic macrophyte meadows, open water and near the shoreline.