Biotic Integrity and Conservation Measurements for fishes on Lake System at Lower Rio Doce (Espírito Santo, Brazil)

3 Dec 2020 Lower Rio Doce Lake Complex, Brazil, Central and Latin America

Eduardo Hoffmam de Barros

Lower Rio Doce region presents one of the most important lacustrine systems of Brazil with 90 lakes. The lakes give shelter to critically endangered fishes, as Paragenidens grandoculis, and the whole area is poorly known regarding biodiversity. The human impacts in the area include intense land use, and, recently, the dam collapse that affected Rio Doce ecosystems. Our aim is to determine main factors affecting fish fauna in the lakes, identify regional bioindicators, indicate effective conservation measurements for the lake system. Our proposal includes the development of a biotic integrity index for fishes on these lakes.

The region of lower Doce River has one of the most important lake systems in Brazil, formed by 90 lagoons, most of which have been little studied. Most of the studies carried out in the region's lagoons refer to geological, physical, hydrological, and limnological aspects, with little knowledge regarding ichthyofauna. The region's potential for ecological and conservation studies is high since the lagoons are under several different anthropogenic pressures.

The lagoons are home to endangered species and different human activities recognized as threatening factors to the ichthyofauna are developed within and around them. This makes the knowledge of this fauna and its ecology of fundamental importance for the foundation and implementation of conservation measures, as well as an opportunity for the study of anthropic factors that affect the ichthyofauna in ponds in general. An approach widely used as a tool for assessing aquatic environments in various regions of the world is the biotic integrity index, based on ichthyofauna attributes, which has been adapted for various types of environments and various regions, however in neotropical regions and lacustrine environments are still incipient.

This project aims to know and record biological and ecological aspects of the ichthyofauna present in the lagoons, investigate the factors that affect them, indicate conservation measures, identify species or bioindicator groups, and adapt abiotic integrity index for ponds affected by human activities. For this purpose, it is intended to systematically sample an ichthyofauna and abiotic characteristics from a representative number of lakes, carrying out multivariate analysis to investigate the factors that one affects, which will serve as a basis for the elaboration of possible and effective conservation measures, as well as for the identification of bioindicators and for the establishment of a set of metrics and reference values for the adaptation of a biotic integrity index for the region, which can be used in similar environments. We intend to test this index and compare it with other existing indexes based on data collected in the lagoons of the lower Rio Doce complex.

Project Updates

11 May 2021

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