Macroinvertebrate abundance in montane tropical streams of varying land-use, Ecuador


Despite the importance of tropical montane cloud forest streams, studies investigating aquatic communities in these regions are rare and knowledge on the driving factors of community structure is missing. The objectives of this study therefore were to understand how land-use influences habitat structure and macroinvertebrate communities in cloud forest streams of southern Ecuador. We evaluated these relationships in headwater streams with variable land cover, using multivariate statistics to identify relationships between key habitat variables and assemblage structure, and to resolve differences in composition among sites. Results show that shading intensity, substrate type and pH were the environmental parameters most closely related to variation in community composition observed among sites. In addition, macroinvertebrate density and partly diversity was lower in forested sites, possibly because the pH in forested streams lowered to almost 5 during spates. Standard bioindicator metrics were unable to detect the changes in assemblage structure between disturbed and forested streams. In general, our results indicate that tropical montane headwater streams are complex and heterogeneous ecosystems with low invertebrate densities. We also found that some amount of disturbance, i.e. patchy deforestation, can lead at least initially to an increase in macroinvertebrate taxa richness of these streams.

This work was funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DFG in the frame of the project FOR816 "Biodiversity and Sustainable Management of a Megadiverse Mountain Ecosystem in South Ecuador".

Supplement to: Bücker, Amelie; Sondermann, Martin; Frede, Hans-Georg; Breuer, Lutz (2010): The influence of land-use on macroinvertebrate communities in montane tropical streams - a case study from Ecuador. Fundamental and Applied Limnology, 177(4), 267-282

Related Identifier
Metadata Access
Creator Bücker, Amelie ORCID logo; Sondermann, Martin; Frede, Hans-Georg; Breuer, Lutz ORCID logo
Publisher PANGAEA
Publication Year 2010
Rights Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported;
OpenAccess true
Resource Type Supplementary Dataset; Dataset
Format text/tab-separated-values
Size 2715 data points
Discipline Environmental Research; Geosciences; Land Use; Natural Sciences
Spatial Coverage (-79.080W, -3.976S, -79.064E, -3.969N); Ecuador
Temporal Coverage Begin 2008-11-07T12:00:00Z
Temporal Coverage End 2009-03-10T17:55:00Z