Dataset Information


Environmental Quality and Aquatic Invertebrate Metrics Relationships at Patagonian Wetlands Subjected to Livestock Grazing Pressures.

ABSTRACT: Livestock grazing can compromise the biotic integrity and health of wetlands, especially in remotes areas like Patagonia, which provide habitat for several endemic terrestrial and aquatic species. Understanding the effects of these land use practices on invertebrate communities can help prevent the deterioration of wetlands and provide insights for restoration. In this contribution, we assessed the responses of 36 metrics based on the structural and functional attributes of invertebrates (130 taxa) at 30 Patagonian wetlands that were subject to different levels of livestock grazing intensity. These levels were categorized as low, medium and high based on eight features (livestock stock densities plus seven wetland measurements). Significant changes in environmental features were detected across the gradient of wetlands, mainly related to pH, conductivity, and nutrient values. Regardless of rainfall gradient, symptoms of eutrophication were remarkable at some highly disturbed sites. Seven invertebrate metrics consistently and accurately responded to livestock grazing on wetlands. All of them were negatively related to increased levels of grazing disturbance, with the number of insect families appearing as the most robust measure. A multivariate approach (RDA) revealed that invertebrate metrics were significantly affected by environmental variables related to water quality: in particular, pH, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, nutrient concentrations, and the richness and coverage of aquatic plants. Our results suggest that the seven aforementioned metrics could be used to assess ecological quality in the arid and semi-arid wetlands of Patagonia, helping to ensure the creation of protected areas and their associated ecological services.


PROVIDER: S-EPMC4598092 | BioStudies | 2015-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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