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Rev. biol. mar. oceanogr. 51(1): 147-159

Article

http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0718-19572016000100014

 

Benthic food distribution as a predictor of the spatial distribution for shorebirds in a wetland of central Chile

Alfredo D. Pérez-Vargas1,2,3, Mariano Bernal1, Camila S. Delgadillo1, Eduardo F. González-Navarro and Mauricio F. Landaeta4

1Facultad de Ciencias del Mar y de Recursos Naturales, Universidad de Valparaíso, Avenida Borgoño 16344, Reñaca, Viña del Mar, Chile
2Programa de Doctorado en Ciencias mención Recursos Naturales Acuáticos, Facultad de Ciencias del Mar y de Recursos Naturales, Universidad de Valparaíso, Avenida Borgoño 16344, Reñaca, Viña del Mar, Chile
3Programa de Magíster en Oceanografía, Facultad de Ciencias del Mar y de Recursos Naturales, Universidad de Valparaíso (Programa conjunto con la Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso), Avenida Borgoño 16344, Reñaca, Viña del Mar, Chile
4Laboratorio de Ictioplancton (LABITI), Facultad de Ciencias del Mar y de Recursos Naturales, Universidad de Valparaíso, Avenida Borgoño 16344, Reñaca, Viña del Mar, Chile

emailButton  alfredo.perez@uv.cl


The southwestern Gulf of California has high-value commercial fisheries; however, there are few studies of the taxonomic diversity of fish in this area. Surveys of taxonomic diversity of the fish assemblage at 8 localities near the shore of Bahía de La Paz were undertaken from March 2002 to April 2003. Seasonal changes in diversity of rocky reef fish were analyzed, including taxonomic distance among fish species, using the alpha, alpha average, beta, and gamma diversity indices, the taxonomic distinctness index (TD D*), and the average taxonomic distinctness index (AvTD D+). Submarine visual censuses were carried out along 48 transects measuring 100 × 5 m (500 m2) at 5 m average depth from 09:00-16:00 h. Two seasons were studied: winter with an average temperature of 22.57°C, and summer with an average temperature of 27.09°C. 24,633 fishes, belonging to 92 species and 67 genera were recorded. According to the alpha average, beta, and gamma diversity indices, August had the highest diversity (19.5, 40.5, and 60 species, respectively), and December had the lowest diversity (20.6, 27.4, and 48 species, respectively). Spatial analysis of TD and AvTD were not significantly different, and analysis by season of these indices was not significant different. Greater anthropogenic impact would cause differences in TD and AvTD found at El Guano compared with other locations.
Coastal landscapes of central Chile are important places for species of resident and migratory shorebirds. Estuarine environments are critical habitats that provide resting places and food resources for large concentrations of shorebirds to replenish their energy during their migration. We hypothesized that shorebirds choose particular habitats based on food availability in a tidal wetland of Aconcagua River, central Chile. We evaluated composition and abundance of benthic ensemble in foraging areas, and its local spatial distributions in these foraging areas. The main prediction was that selected trophic items may reflect the main distribution of shorebirds. The total benthic invertebrates registered were 11,514 individuals, corresponding to 25 taxa, being crustaceans, polychaetes, oligochaetes, and insects the major taxonomic groups. The total and foraging shorebirds registered were 2,105 and 1,136 individuals, respectively; corresponding to 18 species belonged to 4 Families: Charadriidae, Haematopodidae, Recurvirostridae and Scolopacidae. Tidal flats around the study site exhibit non-random spatial distributions of feeding shorebirds, responding to food availability within the Aconcagua river wetland. Our integrated analysis showed significant differences between tidal flat areas based on abundance and composition of benthic trophic items (mediated by sediment characteristics), and some relationships between foraging shorebirds and trophic items in particular tidal flat areas. These results have implications for shorebird conservation and future wetland management, mainly in relation to environmental changes and other causes of habitat loss and destruction linked with worldwide decline in many shorebird populations.

Key words: Shorebirds, Charadriiformes, prey, invertebrates, tidal wetland, Aconcagua River, central Chile

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