Article

Assessing land-use effects on water quality, in-stream habitat, riparian ecosystems and biodiversity in Patagonian northwest streams

CONICET Laboratorio de Investigaciones en Ecología y Sistemática Animal-Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia San Juan Bosco, Argentina.
Science of The Total Environment (Impact Factor: 3.16). 01/2011; 409(3):612-24. DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2010.10.034
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Changes in land-use practices have affected the integrity and quality of water resources worldwide. In Patagonia there is a strong concern about the ecological status of surface waters because these changes are rapidly occurring in the region. To test the hypothesis that greater intensity of land-use will have negative effects on water quality, stream habitat and biodiversity we assessed benthic macroinvertebrates, riparian/littoral invertebrates, fish and birds from the riparian corridor and environmental variables of 15 rivers (Patagonia) subjected to a gradient of land-use practices (non-managed native forest, managed native forest, pine plantations, pasture, urbanization). A total of 158 macroinvertebrate taxa, 105 riparian/littoral invertebrate taxa, 5 fish species, 34 bird species, and 15 aquatic plant species, were recorded considering all sites. Urban land-use produced the most significant changes in streams including physical features, conductivity, nutrients, habitat condition, riparian quality and invertebrate metrics. Pasture and managed native forest sites appeared in an intermediate situation. The highest values of fish and bird abundance and diversity were observed at disturbed sites; this might be explained by the opportunistic behavior displayed by these communities which let them take advantage of increased trophic resources in these environments. As expected, non-managed native forest sites showed the highest integrity of ecological conditions and also great biodiversity of benthic communities. Macroinvertebrate metrics that reflected good water quality were positively related to forest land cover and negatively related to urban and pasture land cover. However, by offering stream edge areas, pasture sites still supported rich communities of riparian/littoral invertebrates, increasing overall biodiversity. Macroinvertebrates were good indicators of land-use impact and water quality conditions and resulted useful tools to early alert of disturbances in streams. Fish and birds having a greater ability of dispersion and capacity to move quickly from disturbances would reflect changes at a higher scale.

0 Bookmarks
 · 
145 Views
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Chironomidae are an abundant, diverse and ecologically important group common in mountain streams worldwide, but their patterns of distribution have been poorly described for the Andes region in western-central Argentina. Here we examine chironomid assemblages along an altitudinal gradient in the Mendoza River basin to study how spatial and seasonal variations affect the abundance patterns of genera across a gradient of elevation, assess the effects of environmental variables on the chironomid community and to describe its diversity using rarefaction and Shannon's indices. Three replicate samples and physicochemical parameters were measured seasonally at 11 sites in 2000 and 2001. Twelve genera of chironomid larvae were identified, which belonged to 5 subfamilies. Chironomid composition changed from the headwaters to the outlet and was associated with changes in altitude, water temperature, substrate size and conductivity. We found a pronounced seasonal and spatial variation in the macroinvertebrate community and in physicochemical parameters. Environmental conditions such as elevated conductivity levels and increased river discharge occurring during the summer produced low chironomid density values at the sampling sites. The rarefaction index revealed that the sampling sites with highest richness were LU (middle section of the river) and PO (lower section). However, Shannon's diversity index indicated that LU had the lowest diversity as a consequence of the dominance of Cricotopus over the other genera found. We attribute the low diversity found in our aquatic system to the aridity of the sampling area, as has been demonstrated in studies of other similar lotic systems in this mountain region.
    Aquatic Biology 04/2014; 20(2):169-184. DOI:10.3354/ab00554 · 1.12 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background: It is well known that fish predation alters ecosystem processes by top-down effects. Salmonids are described as aggressive, visually and size-selective predators. Thus, prey selection by the non-native rainbow trout was examined on a seasonal basis at two streams: Nant y Fall (NyF) and Cabeza de Vaca (CVA) at Patagonia, a region where this kind of information is lacking. Results: The benthos density at NyF was higher than that at CVA, and at both streams, riffles supported higher macroinvertebrate densities than pools. The diet of trouts from both streams was dominated by aquatic macroinvertebrates, was diverse, and was varied seasonally. The individuals represented in the stomach contents were among the largest available at the streams. Diet diversity peaked during spring at NyF and during summer at CVA, whereas at both streams, the niche width peaked during spring. Prey selectivity varied seasonally. The selected preys included both aquatic (Gasteropoda, Crustacea, Plecoptera, Trichoptera, Ephemeroptera, Coleoptera, Diptera, and Odonata) and terrestrial organisms (adult dipterans, Oligochaeta, Araneae, Homoptera, Hymenoptera, Orthoptera, and Hemiptera). Some infaunal invertebrates like oligochaetes and some small Coleoptera and Diptera larvae (mainly Chironomidae) were not selected by trouts. Conclusions: Despite of the overall dominance of trichopteran species, the composition of the diet of the rainbow trout varied seasonally. This fish positively selected both aquatic and terrestrial organisms. We observed that in both streams, trouts consumed the larger individuals available in those environments.
    Zoological studies 01/2015; 54(29):1-14. · 1.01 Impact Factor
  • Source
    12/2015; 54(1). DOI:10.1186/s40555-015-0108-9

Full-text

Download
78 Downloads
Available from
May 20, 2014