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Threshold responses of macroinvertebrate communities to stream velocity in relation to hydropower dam: a case study from the Guayas river basin (Ecuador)
Nguyen, T.H.T.; Forio, M.A.E.; Boets, P.; Lock, K.; Damanik-Ambarita, M.N.; Suhareva, N.; Everaert, G.; Van der heyden, C.; Dominguez-Granda, L.; Hoang, T.H.; Goethals, P.; Boets, P. (2018). Threshold responses of macroinvertebrate communities to stream velocity in relation to hydropower dam: a case study from the Guayas river basin (Ecuador). Water 10(9): 1195.
In: Water. MDPI AG: Basel. ISSN 2073-4441, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

Author keywords
    macroinvertebrates; water quality; stream velocity; Guayas River basin; TITAN; hydropower dams

Authors  Top 
  • Damanik-Ambarita, M.N., more
  • Suhareva, N., more
  • Everaert, G., more
  • Van der heyden, C.
  • Dominguez-Granda, L.
  • Hoang, T.H.
  • Goethals, P., more
  • Boets, P., more

    The Guayas River basin is one of the most important water resources in Ecuador, but the expansion of human activities has led to a degraded water quality. The purpose of this study was (1) to explore the importance of physical-chemical variables in structuring the macroinvertebrate communities and (2) to determine if the thresholds in stream velocity related to macroinvertebrate community composition could be identified in the Guayas River basin. Thus, macroinvertebrates and physical-chemical water quality variables were sampled at 120 locations during the dry season of 2013 in the Guayas River basin. Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) was performed to identify relevant physical-chemical characteristics of the river influencing the distribution of the macroinvertebrate communities. Threshold indicator taxa analysis (TITAN) was used to discriminate between the macroinvertebrate community related to stagnant waters (Daule-Peripa reservoir) and to running waters. CCA indicates that the most important environmental factors influencing the distribution of macroinvertebrate communities were stream velocity, chlorophyll concentration, conductivity, temperature and elevation. Tipping points for the macroinvertebrate community were defined by stream velocity at 0.03 m/s and 0.4 m/s, i.e., stagnant-water (including dam-related reservoirs) taxa start to quickly decrease in abundance and frequency at 0.03 m/s while running-water taxa start to quickly increase in abundance and frequency at 0.03 m/s until a stream velocity of 0.4 m/s. The results provide essential information to define environmental flows to further support water management plans of the Guayas River basin. Information obtained will be useful for management of similar rivers in South America, as well as the rest of the world.

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