Floodplain fish communities in river systems in Bolivia: Current knowledge and addressing future research challenges

Muñoz Puelles, Laura


Tropical freshwater fish communities are increasingly under threat from anthropogenic pressures, particularly alteration to the hydrological regime (e.g. via deforestation and mining within the watershed and in-stream impoundments) which defines the extent and characteristics of in-channel and floodplain habitats for fishes. The ecological consequences of altered hydrology for tropical floodplain ecosystems are likely to be major declines in fish abundance and diversity, lower food web connectivity, reduced microhabitat availability for reproduction and refuge, modified migration patterns and consequently reduced ecosystem services, e.g. fishery resource. Evidence of change is lacking and the current species inventory approaches of collecting fish-related data do not consider spatial (i.e. river-floodplain distances) and temporal (i.e. flood water levels) gradients that are known to largely influence fish communities present in floodplain waterbodies. In the context of increasing threats, fish diversity and community declines are real and require suitable methodological approaches to combine available information and an informed analysis of likely change before actions are irreversible. Bolivian rivers are relatively undisturbed compared to other tropical rivers, however, plans for hydropower and increased deforestation and mining in the region could have devastating effects on the hydrological patterns and the dependent biodiversity. This review aims to summarize the current knowledge of floodplain freshwater fishes using Bolivian rivers as the example, identify the gaps that exist in the science and to propose a landscape ecology approach to integrate pattern and process understanding of the river-floodplain mosaic to fill knowledge gaps in an appropriate way towards the conservation of fish resources.

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Ecología en Bolivia - Revista del Instituto de Ecología, ISSN : 2075-5023

Indexed in: SciELO

Instituto de Ecología UMSA

La Paz . Bolivia