Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Fishes and the ecosystem services they provide in the Porce River Drainage.

Abstract

Due to its location and geomorphology, Colombia has a great variety of ecosystems and a high biodiversity; this natural wealth is also observed in its drainage basins where, additionally, a considerable number of endemic plants and animals have been reported. Unfortunately, these bodies of water have undergone major changes made by man; such is the case of the Porce River Drainage. In addition to the use of its water for hydroelectric generation, its channel has been altered and affected by the growth of a great city on its banks, causing the populations of fish that live there to suffer great alterations and disappearances. The ecosystem services provided by fish in this ecosystem have not been adequately determined. Based on functional traits such as size, diet, habitat and distribution in the water column of the fish of the Porce River, the ecosystem services provided by these organisms will be characterized, showing their importance and which types of services they provide direct or indirectly to society. This will allow the formulation of a proposal for more integral management of the biodiversity of this heavily impacted drainage. Sixty-two species of fish were found in this drainage that can provide regulatory ecosystem services such as: biological control (32 species); water quality improvement (30 spp.); genetic resources (54 spp.); provision services such as food (11 spp.) and ornamental fishes (31 spp.); and cultural services as sources of leisure and recreation (15 spp.). Unfortunately, this drainage has been negatively impacted by modifications of its channel, contamination of its waters and introduction of exotic fish species for the provision of food. All these impacts strongly affect this ecosystem and drastically decrease the surviving native fish populations that have been reported for this river, seriously reducing the ecosystem services that the Porce River species can supply, and which are essential for the functioning of the other ecosystems associated with this drainage and for the human well-being of the region.