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Importance of environmental factors for the richness and distribution of benthic macroinvertebrates in tropical headwater streams Public Deposited

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  • An understanding of the interactions among local environmental factors (e.g., physical habitat and water quality) and aquatic assemblages is essential to conserve biodiversity in tropical and subtropical headwater streams. We evaluated the relative importance of multiple physical and chemical habitat variables that influence the richness of Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, and Trichoptera (EPT) assemblages in wadeable Brazilian Cerrado (savanna) streams. We sampled macroinvertebrate assemblages and quantified physical and chemical habitat in 79 randomly selected sites in 2 Cerrado basins in southeastern Brazil. The environmental variables selected by multiple regression models (MLRs) via corrected Akaike Information Criteria (AICc) contributed significantly to variation in EPT taxon richness. The variance explained by physical-habitat variables was slightly greater in the Upper São Francisco Basin (adjusted R² = 0.53) than in the Upper Araguari Basin (adjusted R² = 0.46), and both were greater than the variance explained by a combined basin model (adjusted R² = 0.39). Physical-habitat variables were more important than water-quality variables in structuring EPT genera in streams with catchments dominated by agriculture or pasture land uses. Regional models can be improved by incorporating basin-specific information to refine biological assessments and to provide better understanding of the interactions that maintain biodiversity in stream networks.
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  • Ferreira, W. R., Ligeiro, R., Macedo, D. R., Hughes, R. M., Kaufmann, P. R., Oliveira, L. G., & Callisto, M. (2014). Importance of environmental factors for the richness and distribution of benthic macroinvertebrates in tropical headwater streams. Freshwater Science, 33(3), 860-871. doi:10.1086/676951
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  • We thank the Peixe-Vivo Program of Companhia Energética de Minas Gerais, Pesquisa & Desenvolvimento/Agência Nacional de Energia Elétrica/Companhia Energética de Minas Gerais-P&D ANEEL/CEMIG GT-487, Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior, Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico, Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais, and Fulbright-Brasil for financial support. MC received a research grant and a research fellowship from the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq no. 471385/211-5 and 302960/2011-2) and research grant from the Fundação de Amparo da Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais (FAPEMIG PPM-00077/13).
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