Abstract

The creeks are strongly influenced by their riparian vegetation, and the deforestation affect the aquatic community. The effects of deforestation on taxonomic and functional diversity of aquatic macroinvertebrate assemblage in four Colombian Andean creeks were evaluated. The study included 12 sites, seven of them with arboreal coverage at their margins in forested areas undisturbed by deforestation (reference stations) and the other five without tree cover in deforested areas (altered stations). Four field samplings were carried out between June 2011 and February 2012, and samples of benthic macroinvertebrates were collected using the D-net method with 500 μm mesh and manual collection, and different physicochemical variables were measured in situ. The Shannon-Wienner (H′) and Simpson´s index (D) were calculated. One-way analyses of variance (ANOVAs) to each environmental variable, and canonical discriminant analysis (CDA) to establish differences in environmental variables, taxonomic and functional diversity between references and altered stations were applied. 8 370 macroinvertebrate individuals corresponding to 80 taxa were collected in the study, with 6 758 individuals and 75 taxa in references stations and 1 612 individuals and 50 taxa in altered stations. The reference stations had higher values of diversity and the taxa that made major contributions to the variance between reference and altered stations were Thraulodes, Anacroneuria and Rhagovelia, which were associated with the highest values of Index of Andean riparian vegetation Quality (QBR-And), fluvial habitat index (IHF), Biological Monitoring Working Party Colombia BMWP/Col, EPT index (Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, and Trichoptera) and temperature in reference stations, whereas Leptonema, Baetodes and Mayobaetis were associated with higher pH and elevation above sea level in altered stations. The main functional feeding groups (FFG) at the reference stations were collectors-gatherers/scrapers CG / SC (27.2 %), scrapers SC (25.4 %) and predators PR (24.4 %), and for altered stations were collectors-filterers CF (27.5 %), collectors-gatherers/scrapers CG / SC (17.4 %) and scrapers SC (15.7 %). The most abundant life habits were clingers Cg (50.5 %), taxa with three or more habits (28.7 %) and skaters Sk (16.1 %), in the reference stations, and clingers Cg (68.1 %), taxa with three or more habits (13.7 %) and burrowers Bu (5.2 %) in the altered stations. The knowledge of the variables that determine the taxonomic and functional structure of the macroinvertebrate assemblages, and how they respond to impacts such as deforestation, can help to determine actions of protection or restoration of the environmental and ecological conditions of the Andean streams and the riparian habitats.

Keywords: taxonomic diversity, functional feeding groups, life habits