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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Habitat Suitability Curves for Freshwater Macroinvertebrates of Tropical Andean Rivers

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Laboratorio de Ecología Acuática (LEA), Departamento de Recursos Hídricos y Ciencias Ambientales, Universidad de Cuenca (UC), Av. 12 de Abril S/N y Av. Loja, Cuenca 010203, Ecuador
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Facultad de Ingeniería, UC, Av. 12 de Abril S/N y Av. Loja, Cuenca 010203, Ecuador
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Facultad de Ciencias Químicas, UC, Av. 12 de Abril S/N y Av. Loja, Cuenca 010203, Ecuador
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(10), 2703; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12102703
Received: 17 August 2020 / Revised: 16 September 2020 / Accepted: 26 September 2020 / Published: 27 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Trends in Freshwater Ecology and Ecosystem Management)
Sustainable river management requires a thorough understanding of the response of aquatic biota to riverine microhabitat variability. The purpose of this study was to assess macroinvertebrate hydraulic-habitat suitability in Ecuadorian Andean rivers to support habitat modelling for sustainable ecosystem management. 597 macroinvertebrate samples were collected from ten sampling stations the Yanuncay River, Ecuador. Physical, chemical, hydraulic and habitat variables were measured/calculated. Froude number, Reynolds number, substrate index and algae coverage were major drivers of macroinvertebrate response, and were used to develop suitability curves for Baetodes, Andesiops, Camelobaetidius, Ecuaphlebia, Anacroneuria, Atopsyche, Simulium and Palpomyia using General Additive Models. Standardised density contours of taxa as functions of hydraulic and habitat variables were also developed. Taxonomic response was related to body structures/shapes and feeding habits. Baetodoes, Simulium, Anacroneuria and Atopsyche preferred fast flowing waters, and thus, they could be significantly affected in case of flow reduction. Similar habitat suitability curves were developed from the main river and the tributaries, possibly due to the short distance between the sampling stations. This study fills a major knowledge gap by developing macroinvertebrate habitat suitability curves for future physical habitat simulations and environmental flow assessments in the Andean region. View Full-Text
Keywords: macroinvertebrates; andean rivers; hydraulic variables; habitat suitability curves; Generalised Additive Models (GAMs) macroinvertebrates; andean rivers; hydraulic variables; habitat suitability curves; Generalised Additive Models (GAMs)
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MDPI and ACS Style

Vázquez, R.F.; Vimos-Lojano, D.; Hampel, H. Habitat Suitability Curves for Freshwater Macroinvertebrates of Tropical Andean Rivers. Water 2020, 12, 2703.

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