To evaluate the effect of short-term changes in discharge on plankton dynamics, a station in the upper reaches of the Schelde estuary was monitored during 1 month in spring 1998 with a sampling frequency of 1-2 days. During this monitoring period, a flood event occurred during which discharge increased about 5-fold. This flood event had a strong effect on the composition of the planktonic community. Rotifers were strongly negatively affected by the flood event while densities of heterotrophic nanoflagellates and scuticociliates increased. Chlorophyll a concentration and abundance of bacteria, oligotrich ciliates and crustacean zooplankton did not respond clearly to the flood event. Although the flood event lasted only a few days it took more than 2 weeks for the planktonic community to return to its original composition.