, Volume 130, Issue 1-3, pp 365-372
Date: 15 Nov 2006

Using Baetidae Species as Biological Indicators of Environmental Degradation in a Brazilian River Basin

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The Ephemeroptera family Baetidae is one of the most specious families in the Neotropical region and a great effort to improve the taxonomy of this group has been made over the last 10 years in South America. Such studies now enable the development of biomonitoring tools at species-level in the region. A total of 2,199 baetids were collected from seven sampling sites, collected three times (autumn, winter and summer), representing an environmental gradient, draining an area of Atlantic Forest remnants. We describe the mesohabitat of nine Baetidae species and evaluate their responses to environmental degradation and water chemistry by means of biological measures (richness and abundance) and multivariate analysis (Canonical Correspondence Analysis), in order to assess their potential capacity as indicators of these impacts. Most species were found predominantly associated with stony substrates, but some were associated with pool litter, and one species was found predominantly in riffle litter substrate. Species distribution was influenced by the environmental gradient. Based on the CCA ordination, we were able to identify which species were found in pristine versus the most impaired areas, therefore enabling us to establish the sensitivity of each species.