Freshwater fish diversity hotspots for conservation priorities in the Amazon Basin

Céline Jézéquel, Pablo A. Tedesco, William Darwall, Murilo S. Dias, Renata G. Frederico, Max Hidalgo, Bernard Hugueny, Javier Maldonado-Ocampo, Koen Martens, Hernan Ortega, Gislene Torrente-Vilara, Jansen Zuanon, Thierry Oberdorff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Conserving freshwater habitats and their biodiversity in the Amazon Basin is a growing challenge in the face of rapid anthropogenic changes. We used the most comprehensive fish-occurrence database available (2355 valid species; 21,248 sampling points) and 3 ecological criteria (irreplaceability, representativeness, and vulnerability) to identify biodiversity hotspots based on 6 conservation templates (3 proactive, 1 reactive, 1 representative, and 1 balanced) to provide a set of alternative planning solutions for freshwater fish protection in the Amazon Basin. We identified empirically for each template the 17% of sub-basins that should be conserved and performed a prioritization analysis by identifying current and future (2050) threats (i.e., degree of deforestation and habitat fragmentation by dams). Two of our 3 proactive templates had around 65% of their surface covered by protected areas; high levels of irreplaceability (60% of endemics) and representativeness (71% of the Amazonian fish fauna); and low current and future vulnerability. These 2 templates, then, seemed more robust for conservation prioritization. The future of the selected sub-basins in these 2 proactive templates is not immediately threatened by human activities, and these sub-basins host the largest part of Amazonian biodiversity. They could easily be conserved if no additional threats occur between now and 2050.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)956-965
Number of pages10
JournalConservation Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research benefited from support from the ERANet-LAC ( AmazonFish (ELAC2014/DCC-0210) project. The laboratory Evolution et Diversit? Biologique is part of the French Laboratories of Excellence CEBA (ANR-10-LABX-25-01) and TULIP (ANR-10-LABX-41 and ANR-11-IDEX-0002-02). J.Z. acknowledges Brazil's CNPq for a productivity grant (number 313183/2014-7). J.M.O. was funded by Colciencias (44842-519-2015). M.S.D. received support from CNPq (150784/2015-5) and FAPDF (number 00193.00001819/2018-75). G.T.V. received grants from the Foundation of Support to Research in the Amazon (PAREV/FAPEAM 019/2010), CAPES (Pro-Amazon Program: Biodiversity and Sustainability, process 6632/14-9), and FAPESP (S?o Paulo Research Foundation number 2016/07910-0). R.G.F. received a grant from Brazil's FAPESPA (ICAAF #094/2016). All data were collected through the ?AmazonFish? project ( C.J., T.O., and P.A.T. designed the study. C.J. performed the analyses. C.J., T.O., and P.A.T. interpreted analyses and wrote the first draft of the manuscript. All coauthors were involved in revising the final version.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Society for Conservation Biology


  • conservation scenarios
  • freshwater biodiversity
  • neotropics
  • spatial prioritization


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