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Seasonal and spatial distribution of stoneflies in the Chubut River (Patagonia, Argentina)

Miserendino, María Laura
Hydrobiologia 2006 v.568 no.1 pp. 263-274
Plecoptera, basins, chlorophyll, correspondence analysis, environmental factors, hydrology, land use, periphyton, plateaus, rivers, sampling, spring, summer, total suspended solids, water temperature, watersheds, Argentina
Longitudinal and seasonal distributions of Plecoptera species were examined along the Chubut River in the Patagonian Precordillera and Plateau, Argentina. Chubut River (>1000 km) is the largest river in the area and the hydrological regime is modified in the lower section by an artificial reservoir (Florentino Ameghino Dam). Quantitative samples were collected in 13 sites in the higher, middle, and lower sections of the river basin. Sites were visited four times during 2004, and a total of nine species and 5772 individuals were collected in the study. Plecoptera richness decreased dramatically from the headwaters to the mouth of the river system. Two species, Antarctoperla michaelseni and Potamoperla myrmidon, were able to live below the impoundment but they were not abundant. Notoperlopsis femina and A. michaelseni abundances were higher in summer than in the other seasons, while Limnoperla jaffueli peaked in spring. Species–environmental relationships were examined using Canonical Correspondence Analysis and six independent variables were identified as the major factors structuring stoneflies assemblages. First axis was highly related to environmental variables reflecting the hydro-geological and land use gradients in the basin (conductivity, total suspended solids, periphyton Chlorophyll a). Second axis was more related to variables that changed seasonally (wet width, water temperature and soluble reactive phosphate).