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Influence of Land-Use Classes on the Functional Structure of Fish Communities in Southern Brazilian Headwater Streams
- Amanda Saldanha Barbosa, Mateus Marques Pires, Uwe Horst Schulz
- Environmental management 2020 v.65 no.5 pp. 618-629
- agricultural land, detritivores, diet, ecosystems, electrical conductivity, fish communities, foraging, forests, functional diversity, habitats, indigenous species, land use change, landscapes, silviculture, streams, urban areas, water quality, water temperature, Brazil
- Changes in landscape composition caused by conversion of natural habitats into human-altered ecosystems can directly influence the physical characteristics of stream networks. Such impacts can modify the functional structure of fish communities, although the exact consequences of anthropic land-use changes can be context-dependent. This study investigated the influence of different land-use classes on the functional structure of fish communities in 32 headwater streams from southern Brazil. Trait composition and indices of functional diversity of the fish community were related to four land-use classes: native forest vegetation, silviculture, agriculture, and urban areas. Streams surrounded by larger areas of native forest were characterized by the predominance of foraging specialist species like grazers. However, as native vegetation is replaced by agriculture and urban areas, specialist species are replaced by species with generalist diet like detritivores. In streams surrounded by larger areas of agriculture, functional richness and divergence increased, while functional evenness decreased. Most likely, these changes were induced by alterations in the water quality, indicated by increased electrical conductivity and water temperature in streams with more agriculture areas. In conclusion, the conservation of the native forest vegetation is essential to maintain habitat characteristics and ecological processes in streams and to avoid the loss of specialist species in fish communities.