Abstract

Validation of two indices of biological integrity (IBI) for the Angulo River subbasin in Central Mexico. Efforts to halt freshwater ecosystem degradation in central Mexico can benefit from using bio-mon- itoring tools that reflect the condition of their biotic integrity. We analyzed the applicability of two fish-based indices of biotic integrity using data from lotic and lentic systems in the Angulo River subbasin (Lerma-Chapala basin). Both independent data from our own collections during two consecutive years, and existing information detailing the ecological attributes of each species, were used to calculate indices of biological integrity for 16 sites in lotic and lentic habitats. We assessed environmental quality by combining independent evaluations water and habitat quality for each site. We found sites with poor, regular and good biotic integrity. Our study did not find sites with good environmental quality. Fish-based IBI scores were strongly and significantly correlated with scores from independent environmental assessment techniques. IBI scores were adequate at representing environmental conditions in most study sites. These results expand the area where a lotic system fish-based IBI can be used, and constitute an initial validation of a lentic system fish-based IBI. Our results suggest that these bio-monitoring tools can be used in future conservation efforts in freshwater ecosystems in the Middle Lerma Basin.
Keywords: environmental evaluation, biomonitoring, conservation, freshwater ecosystems, fish community