John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Metal leaching, acidity and altitude confine benthic macroinvertebrate community composition in Andean streams

0
Andean streams drain metal‐rich bedrock and are subjected to an extreme altitude gradient, which may create highly selective conditions for life. The aim of the present study was therefore to evaluate the combined effects of metals and altitude on benthic macroinvertebrate community composition in Andean streams. Metal‐rich sites were characterized by high metal concentrations and low pH, and high altitude sites by high ultraviolet‐B radiation and low concentration of dissolved organic matter. Canonical Correspondence Analysis indicated that the patterns in faunal composition were best explained by metals followed by altitude, with dipterans and collembolans occurring mostly under harsh conditions of high altitude and high metal levels. Interaction between metals and altitude was most evident at metal‐rich sites. It is suggested that in Andean streams metal leaching from igneous rock and altitude may be important factors confining benthic macroinvertebrate communities reducing their numbers and changing their composition towards specialized taxa. Environ Toxicol Chem © 2013 SETAC

Customer comments

No comments were found for Metal leaching, acidity and altitude confine benthic macroinvertebrate community composition in Andean streams. Be the first to comment!