In this study, we investigate the main ecological interactions between fouling aquatic organisms (both invasive and native) present in the reservoir of the Governador José Richa hydroelectric plant, located in southern Brazil, and to identify the most suitable period for the interruption of machinery operation for cleaning and maintenance of the hydraulic systems of this plant. A total of 32 experimental plates were fixed to a metallic structure positioned close to the plant's water intake. Three species of invasive fouling were identified in our samples (Limnoperna fortunei [Mollusca], Cordylophora sp., and Hydra sp. [Cnidaria]) and six native taxa belonging to the phyla Protozoa, Ciliophora, Amoebozoa, and Arthropoda. Spring and summer were the seasons with the highest fouling rates, as well as densities of fouling organisms. The highest levels of diversity were recorded during the colder seasons. Several interactions between the organisms were identified, such as mutualism, commensalism, competition, epibiosis, cannibalism, and predation. The data obtained suggest that, from the biological point of view, the most suitable period for machine shutdown destined for the removal of biological fouling in the hydraulic systems of the studied plant is between the end of spring and the beginning of summer.
- Ecological succession
- Freshwater environment