SAAD Juan Francisco
Aquatic macroinvertebrates from littoral vegetated lakes in arid Patagonia: the influence of fish introduction on community structure
LOPEZ, MARÍA EUGENIA; SAAD, JUAN FRANCISCO; IRINA, IZAGUIRRE; MARINONE, M CRISTINA; FONTANAROSA, SOLEDAD
AQUATIC CONSERVATION-MARINE AND FRESHWATER ECOSYSTEMS
JOHN WILEY & SONS LTD
Lugar: LOndres; Año: 2021
Wetlands in arid regions are characterized by their great heterogeneity, often including endemic species that contribute to regional aquatic biodiversity. In the Patagonian steppe, most lakes are naturally fishless and sustain a rich aquatic biodiversity, including endemics. However, many of these lakes have been stocked with rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) during the last decades. The introduction of predatory fish into aquatic ecosystems naturally devoid of these organisms can produce profound alterations in the structure of the original communities and in the configuration of their biotic assemblages. Aquatic invertebrates play important roles in both the structure and function of freshwater ecosystems, including their contribution to global biodiversity and their cascading effects across ecosystems boundaries. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of introduced exotic fish on the pleustonic macroinvertebrate assemblage. Samples were taken from shallow Patagonian lakes (5-fishless and 5-fish stocked) in two consecutives warm periods. Lakes with fish had higher conductivity and phosphate values. Higher inter-annual differences were also observed in lakes with fish for phytoplanktonic chlorophyll a, nitrate, phosphate, conductivity and water temperature. The community structure (relative abundance of the different taxa, species composition, and diversity index) were affected by presence of rainbow trout, differences mainly driven by the relative abundance of Ostracoda, Hyalella, Chironomidae and Haliplus. This approach can be used to assess conservation actions in shallow Patagonian-steppe lakes, which have been listed as priority areas for waterbird conservation. Specifically, this study provides a baseline for monitoring future trends of the macroinvertebrate communities and for evaluating conservation and management efforts over time.