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SIEGLOCH, ANA EMILIA; SURIANO, MARCIA; SPIES, MARCIA  and  FONSECA-GESSNER, ALAÍDE. Effect of land use on mayfly assemblages structure in Neotropical headwater streams. An. Acad. Bras. Ciênc. [online]. 2014, vol.86, n.4, pp.1735-1747.  Epub Oct 14, 2014. ISSN 0001-3765.

The aim of this study was to test the effect of agricultural and forestry land use on the structure of mayfly assemblages in low-order streams. Twenty-nine headwater streams were investigated in the state of São Paulo. We analyzed 15 streams in pristine areas (mixed tropical rainforest, semideciduous forest and dense tropical rainforest), and 14 streams covered with sugarcane, eucalyptus and pasture. Mayfly richness obtained by rarefaction curves was higher in pristine areas (21 genera), especially in mixed and semideciduous forest when compared to land use (9 genera), where values were particularly low in sugarcane plantation (3 genera). The non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) ordination showed clear difference in mayfly assemblages between land uses and pristine areas, supported by analysis of similarity (R=0.67, p=0.001). In partial redundancy analysis (pRDA), the environmental descriptors that best explained differences in assemblage structure were Riparian, Channel and Environmental Inventory (RCE) index score, percentage of fine sediment stream substrate, water pH and land elevation. Our results show that agricultural and forestry land use has a strong negative effect on the structure of mayfly assemblages. These results also support the use of mayflies as environmental indicators, as some genera were sensitive to changes in land use, while others responded to naturally occurring changes in the study area.

Keywords : Atlantic forest; environmental integrity; Ephemeroptera; richness; aquatic insects.

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