Part 1. Geology and Limnology

Chapter 1:
Geology and Geomorphology of the Baía-Curutuba-Ivinheima River Complex
Edvard Elias de Souza Filho and José Cândido Stevaux
Chapter 2:
The Quaternary History of the Paraná River and its floodplain
José Cândido Stevaux, Edvard Elias de Souza Filho, SvetlanaMedeanic and Galina Yamskikh
Chapter 3:
Effects of the Porto Primavera Dam on physical environment of the downstream floodplain
Edvard Elias de Souza Filho, Paulo César Rocha, Eder Comunello and José Cândido Stevaux
Chapter 4:
Limnological Characterization of the Aquatic Environments and the influence of hydrometric Levels
Sidinei Magela Thomaz, Thomaz Aurélio Pagioro, Luis Maurício Bini, Maria do Carmo Roberto and Renata Ribeiro de Araújo Rocha

Part 2. Ecology,Biodiversity and Conservation
Chapter 5:
Phytoplanktonic Assemblages
Sueli Train and Luzia Cleide Rodrigues
Chapter 6:
Periphytic algae
Liliana Rodrigues and Denise de Campos Bicudo
Chapter 7:
Composition, species richness and abundance of the zooplankton community
Fábio Amodêo Lansac-Tôha, Cláudia Costa Bonecker and Luiz Felipe Machado Velho
Chapter 8:
Benthic Invertebrates
Alice Michiyo Takeda and Daniele Sayuri Fujita
Chapter 9:
Composition, abundance and habitats of benthic chironomid larvae
Janet Higuti
Chapter 10:
Fish assemblages
Angelo Antonio Agostinho, Luis Maurício Bini, Luiz Carlos Gomes, Horácio Ferreira Júlio Jr, Carla Simone Pavanelli andCarlos Sergio Agostinho
Chapter 11:
Trophic ecology of the fish assemblages
Norma Segatti Hahn, Rosemara Fugi and Izabel de Fátima Andrian
Chapter 12:
Reproductive ecology of the fish assemblages
Harumi Irene Suzuki, Anna Emília Amato de Moraes Vazzoler (in memoriam), Elineide Eugênio Marques, Maria de los Angeles Perez Lizama and Paulo Inada
Chapter 13:
Temporal and spatial dynamics of fish eggs and larvae
Keshiyu Nakatani, Andréa Bialetzki, Gilmar Baumgartner, Paulo Vanderlei Sanches and Maristela Cavicchioli Makrakis
Chapter 14:
Helminth fauna of fishes: diversity and ecological aspects
Gilberto Cezar Pavanelli, Marion Haruko Machado, RicardoMassato Takemoto, Gislaine Marcolino Guidelli and Maria de los Angeles Perez Lizama
Chapter 15:
Aquatic macrophytes: diversity, biomass and decomposition
Sidinei Magela Thomaz, Luis Maurício Bini, Thomaz AurélioPagioro, Kevin Joseph Murphy, Anderson Medeiros dos Santos and Débora Cristina de Souza
Chapter 16:
Riparian vegetation: ecotones and plant communities
Maria Conceição de Souza, Mariza Barion Romagnolo and Kazue Kawakita Kita
Chapter 17:
Spatial characterization of the vegetation
João Batista Campos
Chapter 18:
The Upper Paraná river and its floodplain: main characteristics and perspectives for management and conservation
Angelo Antonio Agostinho, Luiz Carlos Gomes, Sidinei MagelaThomaz and Norma Segatti Hahn


The development of ecology is deeply linked with floodplains. The classical essayby Forbes, “The lake as a microcosm”, was developed in his studies carried out over120 years ago on the Illinois River (USA). Forbes can be considered one of the firstscientists to apply ecological paradigms to the study of river-floodplain systems,focusing on the effect of the “periodic overflow and gradual recession” of water inthe Illinois River floodplain on aquatic plants and animals (Croker 2001). Over acentury ago, he was also one of the first ecologists to assess human impacts uponsuch ecosystems.
During the last 200 years, almost all temperate floodplains have been destroyeddue to increasing demands for agricultural land, human settlements and flood control. In South America, some floodplains have been completely transformedthrough changing land use or reservoir construction. On the other hand, some largeriver floodplain systems are still in a relatively natural state (e.g., in the Amazon,Orinoco and Paraguay basins). In addition, although they are exposed to varyingdegrees of human impacts, hundreds of small to medium-size floodplain rivers on this continent are still flooded seasonally.
The Paraná River is the tenth largest river in the world, draining 15.7% of South America. In Brazil, the Paraná drains an area with the highest population density and economic activity in the country. Agriculture, industry and waste-water produced in large cities are sources of impacts on the Upper Paraná and its tributaries (Agostinho et al., 1995). Nevertheless, the greatest impacts can be attributed to reservoir constructions, with 26 reservoirs of areas greater than 100 km2 found in the basin (Agostinhoet al., 2000). In 1999, after the construction of Porto Primavera Dam, the Paraná River floodplain was reduced to a short stretch (about 200 km), extending between the new dam and Itaipu Reservoir. Thus, one of the most important rivers in the world enters the 21st century with only one surviving undammed stretch, the rest having been flooded by reservoirs.
Incomplete surveys carried out in this floodplain have recorded almost 3,000 species of animals and plants. Despite this high species richness, data obtained since 1986 show that the Paraná River and its floodplain have undergone rapid transformation due to human activities. The principal impacts on the river and its floodplain are associated with water level control (the key driving force for the functioning of river-floodplain systems) caused by the operation of upstream reservoirs.
The situation described above highlights the importance of the Upper Paraná River floodplain for biodiversity conservation, education and scientific activities. Unfortunately, the above considerations also indicate that urgent action must be taken to conserve it. An initial very important conservation measure was the implementation of three conservation units in this area: the National Park of Ilha Grande, the State Park of Ivinheima and the Environmental Protection Area (APA) of the Islands and “Várzeas” of Paraná River. The whole area is also included in the Atlantic Forest Domain Heritage Site (MAB/UNESCO).
In this book, we discuss data obtained at different spatial and temporal scales for physical and chemical factors and biological communities of the upper Paraná River floodplain. Long-term studies are underway in this ecosystem and it is certain that the results will reveal other impacts which have not been perceived previously. We hope that future studies will help to find appropriate tools to be used in the management of this unique ecosystem and its fantastic biodiversity, allowing the preservation of surviving habitats and the recovery of those that are already damaged.