, Volume 791, Issue 1, pp 221–235 | Cite as

Strong spatial turnover in cichlid fish assemblages in the upper río Madera (Amazon basin) despite the absence of hydrological barriers

  • Pascal I. Hablützel
  • Jelena H. Pantel


In freshwater ecosystems, spatial turnover in fish assemblages is often attributed to dispersal limitation imposed by fragmentation of water bodies. Other factors like environmental properties or biotic interactions have often been assumed to be minute relative to dispersal limitation when hydrogeological barriers are abundant. This study aims to describe the spatial differentiation of cichlid fish assemblages in the upper río Madera in Bolivia, Brazil and Perú, a large drainage system characterized by the absence of significant hydrogeological barriers. We assessed the relative importance of spatial, climatic and geological predictors in the observed biogeographic structure using an integrative combination of cluster analyses, elements of metacommunity structure analysis, variation partitioning, and network analysis. Our results show that distinct assemblages of cichlid fish species replace each other across the landscape and that this turnover is partially determined by climate and geological gradients. A considerable fraction of the cichlid assembly structure could not be assigned to either space, climate or geology and might be explained by unmeasured parameters such as habitat structure or biotic interactions. Incorporating knowledge on spatial turnover of species assemblages into conservation strategies will be essential for the biodiversity management of the diverse aquatic fauna of the upper río Madera.


Biodiversity Distribution Community ecology Fish Rio Madeira Bolivia 



We thank Takayuki Yunoki and Luis Torres (CIRA, University of Beni, Bolivia), Karina Osinaga and Kathia Riveiro (MNK, Santa Cruz, Bolivia), Soraya Barrera and Jaime Sarmiento (CBF, Bolivia) for their hospitality during research visits and granting access to their collections. We also thank Robert Guggenbühl and Wolfgang Staeck for providing additional information on cichlid species distribution. Many thanks to Nele Boon for statistical advice. Two anonymous reviewers provided helpful suggestions on an earlier version of the manuscript. Our research was supported by Grants to PIH from the Deutsche Cichliden-Gesellschaft (DCG) and the Swiss Academy of Natural Sciences.

Supplementary material

10750_2016_2853_MOESM1_ESM.doc (292 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 292 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centro de Investigación de Recursos Aquáticos (CIRA)Universidad Autónoma del BeniTrinidadPlurinational State of Bolivia
  2. 2.Laboratory of Biodiversity and Evolutionary GenomicsUniversity of LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  3. 3.Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionnelle et EvolutiveUMR 5175 CNRS-Université de Montpellier-EPHEMontpellier Cedex 05France

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