Mesohabitat heterogeneity in four mediterranean streams of the Jucar river basin (Eastern Spain)

Autores UPV
Revista Limnetica


The hydromorphological units or mesohabitats of the headwaters of four Mediterranean streams were studied by classifying them according to their length, width, average and maximum depth, percentage of substrate and water volume. These characteristics of the streams were assessed over four consecutive years (2003-2006). The main objective of the study was to analyse the spatial and temporal pattern of the physical attributes of the mesohabitats. Classification strength and dendrograms were examined for each stream, mesohabitat type, and combination of stream and mesohabitat type and for stream mesohabitat type and year, whereas Nonmetric Multidimensional Scaling ordination (NMDS) was used to analyse classification patterns. The Villahermosa and Ebr ón streams were more homogeneous than the Palancia and Vallanca streams, whereas riffles and glides were more homogeneous than pools and rapids. The NMDS indicated that the slow water-velocity (pools, glides) and fast (riffles, rapids) mesohabitats tended to group together. Temporally, the Ebr ón stream pools were homogeneous and very stable over the four years, whereas the Vallanca and Villahermosa pools showed a certain degree of variability. The Palancia pools were the most variable and heterogeneous during the study period. These results underscored the importance of separating different types of deep, slow-velocity habitats in mesohabitat inventories and the importance of evaluating habitat classifications in eco-hydromorphological and hydrobiological studies, especially in Mediterranean streams and rivers. © Asociación Ibérica de Limnología, Madrid Spain.