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    Author(s): A.P. COVICH; T.A. CROWL; F.N. SCATENA
    Date: 2003
    Source: Freshwater Biology 48, 1199–1206
    Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
    PDF: View PDF  (128 B)

    Description

    1. Long-term data on rainfall suggests that perennial rainforest streams rarely are subject to drying of riffles or pools in the wet, non-seasonal Caribbean climate of Puerto Rico. Unusually low rainfall in 1994 caused some headwater riffles to dry out completely, resulting in isolated pools, reduced pool volumes and loss of access to microhabitats by benthic invertebrates. 2. From 1992 to 1998, shrimp populations were sampled bimonthly using baited traps in six pools along 1200 m (from 305 to 480 m in altitude) of Quebrada Prieta, a second-order headwater stream in the Luquillo Experimental Forest (Caribbean National Forest). 3. Following contraction of the smaller and shallower pools in the most upstream sectionof the stream, mean densities of the dominant shrimp (Atya lanipes) increased from 22 to 75shrimp m)2 of pool area during the 1994 drought year. A second common species(Xiphocaris elongata) increased from 5 to 14 shrimp m)2. A smaller percentage of adults of both species was gravid during the drought. 4. Following the 1994 drought (1995–1998), densities of both shrimp species and reproductive activity of Atya returned to predrought (1990–1993) levels. However, the reproductive activity of Xiphocaris remained lower than in the predrought period. 5. It is suggested that prolonged droughts, even in tropical rainforest biomes, may significantly alter aquatic communities through localised crowding effects resulting from habitat contraction, and lead to prolonged decreases in reproductive output. Consequently, major alterations in aquatic populations and communities would be predicted by current climate change scenarios of decreased total rainfall and increased variability.

    Publication Notes

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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

    Citation

    COVICH, A.P.; CROWL, T.A.; SCATENA, F.N. 2003. Effects of extreme low flows on freshwater shrimps in a perennial tropical stream. Freshwater Biology 48, 1199–1206

    Keywords

    atyidae, drought, habitat contraction, pool morphology, reproduction, tropical streams

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