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The Guarinó River is a torrential system that is located in the foothills of the Colombian central Andean mountains that naturally experiences severe hydrological disturbances, which were higher during the Niño-Niña/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) between 2007 and 2010. The seasonal and interannual variabilities in the taxonomic composition, richness and density of phycoperiphyton assemblages (ecological descriptors) from the Guarinó River were examined in relation to the physical and chemical environmental changes associated with the hydrological cycle between 2007 and 2010. The values of the ecological descriptors and environmental variables were analysed via ANOVA, ANCOVA and Canonical Discriminant Analysis to establish temporal patterns and relationships between the variables. Eighty-seven taxa belonging to Cyanobacteria, Chlorophyta, Charophyta, Ochrophyta, Cryptophyta, Euglenozoa and Dinophyta were identified. Flow, water temperature and dissolved oxygen corresponded with the hydroclimatic variation and allowed for the differentiation of the El Niño and La Niña periods. Phycoperiphyton density differences matched the environmental variation pattern with a significant annual increase in the number of individuals during El Niño, whereas annual differences related to richness were not evident. The replacement of genera according to their drag or desiccation tolerance and the persistence of genera tolerant to high hydrological disturbances, such as Fragilaria, Nitzschia, Gomphonema, Navicula and especially Lyngbya, was observed.
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