Urban Ecosystems

, Volume 22, Issue 6, pp 1187–1200 | Cite as

The use of macroinvertebrates and algae as indicators of riparian ecosystem services in the Mexican Basin: a morpho-functional approach

  • Angela Caro-Borrero
  • Javier Carmona-JiménezEmail author


Peri-urban rivers have been subjected to poor environmental management, especially in developing countries, due to urban expansion and channel transformation in the context of a lack of public conservation policies. As an example, Mexico City, the second largest city in the world, has a socioenvironmental mosaic that allows the evaluation of ecosystem services (ES) associated with aquatic ecosystems amid urbanistic pressures. The main objective of this research was to identify sites with the greatest ES potential supplied by conserved areas that are in a rural-urban transition using the ecological traits of riparian bioindicators, including eco-physiological metrics of communities and assemblages and hydromorphological quality. The aquatic ES most influenced by the peri-urban context was nutrient cycling through the incorporation of organic matter from the riparian ecosystem into the river. Water quantity was also influenced, due to local extraction and structures such as gabion dams. The support and provision ES were sensitive to changes in the geomorphology configuration. In conclusion our results showed that the biological morpho-functional indicators of blue ES were an objective tool to assess the state of river functioning and translate these functions into the language of decision makers. Finally, we determined that the ES provision into the Mexico Basin mainly responds to three major factors: physical characteristics, hydromorphological functioning and the functional ecology of organisms.


Aquatic functions Peri-urban rivers Biological ecosystem indicators 



Thanks to the PASPA-DGAPA-UNAM Support Program for the sabbatical stay of JCJ and postdoctoral fellowship PASPA-DGAPA-UNAM Support Program of ACB.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Facultad de Ciencias, Departamento de Ecología y Recursos NaturalesLaboratorio Ecosistemas de Ribera, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoCiudad de MéxicoMexico

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