Phytosociological and ecological study of springs in Trentino (south-eastern Alps, Italy)


A phytosociological survey of the crenic vegetation was made in Trentino (south-eastern Alps), combining the field method of the Braun-Blanquet approach with a numerical syntaxonomical analysis. A set of 139 phytosociological relevés, including vascular plants and bryophytes, were classified using cluster analysis. The vegetation types were assigned to 7 different phytosociological classes: Platyhypnidio-Fontinalietea antipyreticae, Montio-Cardaminetea, Adiantetea, Scheuchzerio-Caricetea nigrae, Molinio- Arrhenatheretea, Galio-Urticetea, Mulgedio-Aconitetea. The classes Platyhypnidio-Fontinalietea antipyreticae and Montio- Cardaminetea represent the core of crenic vegetation, including permanently or intermittently submerged plant communities, mostly made up of bryophytes, or non-submerged communities dominated by bryophytes or vascular plants. The other classes include chasmophytic bryophyte-rich communities and hygrophilous or tall herb communities lying around the periphery of the springs. 23 vegetation types were identified and, whenever possible, classified at the association level, or as phytocoena. The environmental parameters showed different ranges among vegetation types. A number of environmental variables were recorded during the vegetation survey, including altitude, shading, discharge, flow velocity, with exhaustive hydrochemical sampling. Conductivity, alkalinity and pH showed similar distribution patterns, clearly separating the vegetation types into two distinct groups, differing in the nature of the substratum. The altitudinal range was very broad and shading was also very variable. Nitrate and phosphate levels showed that the majority of vegetation types were irrigated by oligotrophic crenic waters. Finally, the bryophyte-dominated vegetation types belonging to the class Platyhypnidio-Fontinalietea antipyreticae occurred in springs with the highest discharge values and variation. Discriminant analysis confirmed that the environmental descriptors that best accounted for the among-group variation were pH and alkalinity (first variate); the second variate reflected a gradient of altitude and discharge.



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crenon, vegetation, phytosociology, numerical syntaxonomy
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TOMASELLI M, SPITALE D, PETRAGLIA A. Phytosociological and ecological study of springs in Trentino (south-eastern Alps, Italy). J Limnol [Internet]. 2011Sep.1 [cited 2021May10];70(s1):23-. Available from: