Water quality and macroinvertebrate community in dryland streams: The case of the Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Biosphere Reserve (México) facing climate change

Eugenia López-López, Jacinto Elías Sedeño-Díaz, Erick Mendoza-Martínez, Andrea Gómez-Ruiz, Emilio Martínez Ramírez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

© 2019 by the authors. The Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Biosphere Reserve (TCBR), the southernmost semi-arid zone of North America, includes two dryland streams, the Río Salado (RS) and Río Grande (RG); it is surrounded by high vegetation diversity, a cacti diversification center, and the densest columnar cacti forest worldwide. However, no scientific knowledge is currently available on these dryland streams. We evaluated water quality, its relationship with the local geological characteristics, land uses, and the composition of aquatic macroinvertebrates (AM), analyzing their bioindicator potential. These results were discussed in relation to climate change predictions. The RS showed higher mineralization, salinity, hardness, water and air temperature, and low water quality index (WQI), relative to the RG. A discriminant analysis showed spatial (mineralization, salinity, and hardness in the RS) and temporal patterns (higher nitrogen compounds and temperature in the rainy season). The RS showed a lower AM diversity (40 taxa) compared to the RG (73 taxa); Ephemeroptera-Plecoptera-Trichoptera reached higher values in the RG. A co-inertia analysis identified five groups of sites with different AM assemblages and water quality characteristics. Climate change predictions for the TCBR suggest increased aridity, higher temperature, and lower rainfall, leading to reduced river flow and increased salinity and mineralization. These could alter habitat features and connectivity, with loss of AM diversity, highlighting the vulnerability of these unique ecosystems to climate change.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalWater (Switzerland)
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019

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