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Hotspots of annual fish along the Patos-Mirim Lagoon System and adjacent areas in Southern Brazil, with an evaluation of conservation priority for species and localities

Abstract

Rivulidae represents one of the most endangered taxa in Brazil. This family encompasses species known as annual or seasonal fish because they possess unique adaptations that enable their survival in seasonal ponds. Several Brazilian species of annual fish inhabit the Patos-Mirim Lagoon System (PMLS), which is considered a hotspot of these species. However, within this area, no strategic regions have yet been defined for in situ conservation of annual fish. Therefore, the aim of this study is to assist in the delimitation of micro-hotspots of endemism, sympatry and richness of annual fish along the PMLS, while assessing conservation priorities of evolutionary lineages and areas. For this purpose, distribution data were compiled for 42 species or evolutionary lineages that occur along 144 ponds located at the PMLS, which enabled to evaluate patterns of distribution of endemism, sympatry and richness. Moreover, measures of genetic diversity were obtained using sequences from one mitochondrial gene, and phylogenetic positioning was assessed using one mitochondrial and one nuclear marker. These values were considered in the context of the number of populations within and outside conservation units to evaluate conservation priority for 29 of these lineages (Wlineage) and 112 of these ponds (Wpond). Among the evaluated species and lineages, eight were detected as strictly endemic, and 55 of the evaluated ponds showed records of sympatry. The patterns of lineage richness showed a heterogeneous distribution of annual fish along the sampling area, with seven grids presenting records for four or more lineages. Interestingly, these are concentrated in four larger areas, located on the Southeast and on the Southwest margins of the Patos Lagoon and on the Southeast and Center-West Margins of the Mirim Lagoon, which present several ponds whose conservation is urging.

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Acknowledgements

We are grateful to Luiz Malabarba and UFRGS who kindly provided tissues from C. notabilis, C. melanotaenia, Cynopoecilus sp., and Cynopoecilus sp. 2. This study was funded by the Fundação Grupo Boticário de Proteção à Natureza as part of the project entitled “Micro and macroevolutionary patterns in Cynopoecilus and Austrolebias (Cyprinodontiformes: Rivulidae) fishes along the Patos-Mirim Drainage System: a comparative approach with applications for conservation—Project 1090_20171″. We are also grateful to the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior—Brasil (CAPES), which provided scholarships to Crislaine Barbosa, Daiana Kaster Garcez and Murilo de Oliveira Fernandes (Financial Code 001) and to CNPq, which provide research fellow for Lizandra Jaqueline Robe (# 308371/2018-6; 314206/2021-3).

Funding

This study was funded by Fundação Grupo Boticário de Proteção à Natureza as part of the project entitled “Micro and macroevolutionary patterns in Cynopoecilus and Austrolebias (Cyprinodontiformes: Rivulidae) fishes along the Patos-Mirim Drainage System: a comparative approach with applications for conservation—Project 1090_20171”. Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior—Brasil (CAPES)—Financial Code 001 provided scholarships to C.B., D.K.G and M.O.F. L.J.R. is research fellow of CNPq–PQ (# 308371/2018-6; 314206/2021-3).

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All collections referred in this study were authorized by the Ministério do Meio Ambiente (MMA), at the Biodiversity Authorization and Information System (SISBIO) (Process Number 55651-3). This study was also approved by the Animal Ethics Committee of the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande (process number 23116.008163/2015-23).

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Communicated by Rajeev Raghavan.

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Garcez, D.K., Barbosa, C., de Oliveira Fernandes, M. et al. Hotspots of annual fish along the Patos-Mirim Lagoon System and adjacent areas in Southern Brazil, with an evaluation of conservation priority for species and localities. Biodivers Conserv 31, 1945–1967 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-022-02441-6

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Keywords

  • Austrolebias
  • Biodiversity
  • Cynopoecilus
  • Endemism
  • Sympatry