Effects of an atypical drought on the benthic macroinvertebrate community in a tropical reservoir
Keywords:Benthic fauna, exotic species, ecological integrity, water stress, climate changes
AbstractAbstract Atypical drought events have increasingly occurred in Brazil over the last years due to global climate changes. However, their consequences on aquatic biota in reservoirs are poorly known. We tested the hypothesis that macroinvertebrate communities are negatively affected by atypical drought events, given the sensitivity of many taxa to environmental changes. We predicted that: (a) there would be changes in limnological and sediment parameters between a regular year and an atypical year, (b) abundance and richness of the genera of Chironomidae and of exotic species would be higher due to the enhanced ability of these organisms to adapt to changes in the physical environment, and (c) community structure metrics (i. richness; ii. % richness; iii. abundance; iv. % abundance) would be affected by disturbance indices (i. Buffer Disturbance Index-BDI; ii. Local Disturbance Index-LDI; iii. Integrated Disturbance Index-IDI) in both years. The study was carried out in the reservoir of the Nova Ponte Hydroelectric Power Plant, state of Minas Gerais, comparing two sampling periods: a regular climatological year (2010) and an atypical drought year (2014). A total of 40 sampling sites were defined along the shore of the reservoir, and types of land use in the surrounding area of each site were measured, as well as physical habitat conditions, sediments, and benthic macroinvertebrate communities. Sampling was performed at these sites in the end of the rainy season in both years. The intensity of anthropogenic modifications was assessed at local scale and in the areas (buffers) surrounding the sampling sites using quantitative disturbance indices. There were striking differences in limnological parameters and sediment characteristics between sampling periods. Taxonomic richness was significantly lower in the drought year. As opposed to our predictions, richness and abundance of Chironomidae and exotic species did not increase with the atypical drought event. Besides, most community structure metrics showed a significant relationship with disturbance indices only during the regular climatological year, thus indicating that the large-scale effects of water stress may override the conditions of local habitats and the surrounding landscape. Therefore, in addition to a correct political-environmental management of water resources at local-scale, which includes maintaining the water quality and the riparian and landscape integrity, addressing large-scale climate issues is required for the maintenance of the ecological integrity of tropical reservoirs.
How to Cite
Anacléto, M. J. P., Ligeiro, R., Barbosa, J. E. de L., Molozzi, J., & Callisto, M. (2018). Effects of an atypical drought on the benthic macroinvertebrate community in a tropical reservoir. Biota Neotropica, 18(2). Retrieved from //www.biotaneotropica.org.br/BN/article/view/1501