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Spatial Characteristics and Temporal Evolution of Chemical and Biological Freshwater Status as Baseline Assessment on the Tropical Island San Cristóbal (Galapagos, Ecuador)

Output: Contribution to journalA2: International peer reviewed article (not A1-type)


  • Christine Van der heyden
  • Peter Goethals
  • Marie Anne Forio
  • Wout Van Echelpoel
  • Rafael Bermudez
  • Long Ho
  • Andrea Mishell Rosado Moncayo
  • Rebeca Nathaly Parra Narea
  • Luis E. Dominguez Granda
  • Dany Sanchez
The fragility of geographically isolated islands stresses the necessity of evaluating the current situation, identifying temporal trends and suggesting appropriate conservation measures. To support this, we assessed the freshwater quality of three stream basins on San Cristóbal (Galapagos) for two consecutive years. Abiotic conditions generally complied with existing guidelines, except for the pH in the Cerro Gato basin (0.12 mg P L −1 ). Macroinvertebrate communities were characterized by low family richness (3–11) and were dominated by Atyidae or Chironomidae, thereby causing low diversity (0.33–1.65). Spatial analysis via principal component analysis (PCA) illustrated that abiotic differences between stream basins were mostly related to turbidity, pH, dissolved oxygen (DO), and conductivity. Biotic differences were less clear due to masking by anthropogenic disturbances and dispersal limitations, yet indicated a negative effect of reduced pH and DO on Atyidae presence. In 2017, significantly narrower ranges were found for turbidity, temperature, pH, and diversity (p < 0.01), suggesting a decrease in habitat variability and a need for conservation measures, including mitigating measures related to dam construction for water extraction. As such, further follow-up is highly recommended for the sustainable development and environmental protection of this unique archipelago.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
StatePublished - 26-Apr-2019

ID: 18920519