The seasonal dynamics in habitat characteristics of temporary freshwater pools were studied in relation to hydroperiod and geographical location for a set of 36 pristine pools in and around the Kiskunság National Park (Hungary). The pools were geographically distributed over three clusters and their hydroperiod varied from seven to more than 18 weeks. Biweekly to monthly monitoring started two weeks after inundation (March) and lasted until most pools were dry again (July). Throughout the season, nutrient concentrations and conductivity increased in all study pools. Algal biomass increased after short hydroperiod pools were already dry, resulting in an increase in the amount of suspended solids and turbidity in pools with a relatively long hydroperiod. Both the longer inundation period and conditions later in the season may have contributed to the stronger algal growth in these pools. Oxygen was not depleted towards the end of the season, potentially due to growing algae and vegetation. The high buffering capacity of the water may have contributed to the near constant pH levels through time. Pools in one of the clusters were typically more turbid, less vegetated, and had higher amounts of suspended matter when compared to pools in the two other clusters. Temporary pool characteristics were related to local environmental conditions and seasonal dynamics differed according to the duration of inundation.
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Vol. 28 • No. 2