Evaluating the influence of environmental variables on fish assemblages along Tropical Andes: considerations from ecology to conservation

Rafael Miranda, Blanca Rios-Touma, Ana Falconí-López, Andrea Pino-del-Carpio, Sergio Gaspar, Hernán Ortega, Marlon Peláez-Rodríguez, Julio Manuel Araujo-Flores, Ibon Tobes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The lack of knowledge about freshwater biodiversity in remote areas like montane Andean rivers is noticeable and hinder the development of efficient conservation plans for aquatic ecosystems. Habitat requirements of tropical Andean fishes have been poorly analysed, despite the relevance of these ecological features on the fish conservation strategies. The present study aimed to examine fish assemblages along the altitudinal gradient in tropical Andean rivers and their relationship to habitat features to detect the most relevant abiotic factors and their implication on conservation. This study was conducted on a regional scale, along six basins located in tropical Andes (500 to 2,692 m a.s.l.). We studied fish diversity and distribution and their habitats along these elevation gradients. We found 6,320 specimens from 53 genera. Our analysis for the six most common and widely distributed genera (Astroblepus, Brycon, Bryconamericus, Chaetostoma, Pimelodella and Trichomycterus) underlines the relevance of hydromorphological variables on fish community structure in the Andean montane rivers, whereas human alterations seem to be less significant. These findings could be useful for current management and conservation strategies considering present threats over tropical montane rivers.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHydrobiologia
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Open Access funding provided thanks to the CRUE-CSIC agreement with Springer Nature. The Asociación de Amigos–University of Navarra awarded a doctoral grant to Ibon Tobes (2012–2014). This study was sponsored by the fellowship program III-B of the Ministry of External Affairs (MAEC-AECID), and the fellowships program for mobility of senior professors and researchers to foreign academic and research centres, Ministry of Education and Vocational Training of the Government of Spain (2019). Blanca Rios-Touma had the support of project AMB.BRT.20.01 (UDLA). The vice-rectory of research of the Universidad de la Amazonia provided logistic and economic resources for the achievement of this work.

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful to A. Escobar, D. Godoy, Y.A. Jara, A. Morabowen, E. L. Morabowen K. U. Osorio, C. A. Ospina, H.A. Peláez, A. Quispe, Y.M. Salas, I. Sandoval and D. Sierra, for their invaluable field assistance and friendship. We thank the collaborative efforts of J. I. Mojica and G. Galvis (Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá, D.C., Colombia), A.M. Cortijo and J. Espino (Departamento de Ictiología del Museo de Historia Natural de la Universidad Nacional de San Marcos, Lima, Perú), F. Provenzano (Universidad Central de Venezuela, Caracas, Venezuela) and J. A. Maldonado-Ocampo (Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá, D.C., Colombia) for their assistance with species identification. We are grateful for the unreserved cooperation of H. Pepper, who provided logistic and data support. The authors are grateful to the Asociación de Amigos–University of Navarra, which awarded a doctoral grant to Ibon Tobes (2012–2014). Universidad Tecnológica Indoamérica provided resources for field trips and material processing for Mashpi, Chirapi and Mira Watershed sampling. Thanks to Parque Nacional Cueva de los Guacharos for research authorization and to Ministerio del Ambiente of Ecuador for the sampling permit (MAE—DNB—CM—2015 – 0017, 008-2016-IV-FAU-DPAP-MA). Mashpi Biodiversity Reserve, Mashpishungo and Pambiliño Reserves, besides preserving amazing Choco Andean rivers, provided facilities, knowledge and assistance during fieldtrips in Ecuador. The Asociación para la Conservación de la Cuenca Amazónica (ACCA), kindly provided valuable information, collaboration and lodging during our fieldwork. This study was sponsored by the fellowship program III-B of the Ministry of External Affairs (MAEC-AECID), and the fellowships program for mobility of senior professors and researchers to foreign academic and research centres, Ministry of Education and Vocational Training of the Government of Spain (2019). Blanca Rios-Touma had the support of project AMB.BRT.20.01 (UDLA). The vice-rectory of research of the Universidad de la Amazonia provided logistic and economic resources for the achievement of this work.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

Keywords

  • Altitudinal gradient
  • Environmental quality indices
  • Fish fauna
  • Human impact
  • Neotropical mountains
  • River connectivity

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Evaluating the influence of environmental variables on fish assemblages along Tropical Andes: considerations from ecology to conservation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this