Abstract

Effects of deforestation on macroinvertebrate diversity and assemblage structure in four Andean creeks in Colombia. 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 QBR, IHF, BMWP and temperature in reference stations, whereas Leptonema, Baetodes and Mayobaetis were associated with higher pH and height 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 abundance and diversity of macroinvertebrates was higher in stations located in forested areas not disturbed by deforestation, and changes were observed in the functional organization and community structure in deforested areas with greater dominance of collectors-filterers CF and clinger habits (Cg).