Selection of macroinvertebrate metrics for rapid assessment of the human impact by biotic conditions of Bolivian Altiplano streams

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We developed a rapid multimetric index using macroinvertebrates as bioindicators of ecological conditions for the Bolivian Altiplano streams. A total of 64 taxa and 30 environmental variables were collected from 29 sampled sites. After identifying redundant metrics through Principal Components Analysis (PCA) and considering practical application criteria, four biological attributes were selected to compose the Altiplano Integrity Benthic Index (AIBI): Genus richness, Filter-Collector, Gatherer-Collector, and Swimmer groups. The sensitivity of the index was tested in 17 rivers using a Co-Inertia Analysis (CoIA), and its first axis of analysis was strongly correlated to the new AIBI scores (r = 0.8, p < 0.001). At Pacajes Rivers, the macroinvertebrate Gatherers-Collector group was common in organic pollution sites and the Swimmer group with hydraulic disturbance sites. In contrast, the Scraper group becomes a specific group for the reference conditions. The AIBI responded to environmental variables associated with a gradient of human disturbance affecting the running freshwater's ecological condition. The proposed index could allow the structuration a biomonitoring program.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103638
JournalJournal of South American Earth Sciences
StatePublished - Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Jach'a Suyo Pacajak'e of Pacajes province for supporting our research. The study was financially supported by the DIPGIS-UMSA program through the IDH taxes (in its Spanish acronym). We also thank Guillermina Miranda, Francisco Osorio, Roberto Apaza, Claudio Rosales, and others for their technic-scientific assistance on this project. Without the support of two current French projects (JEAI-Ferria and JEAI-Titicaca), it would not have been possible to carry out the present manuscript. Finally, thanks to Sofia Lana from the University of California for providing useful comments on the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd


  • Hydraulic disturbance
  • Macroinvertebrates
  • Monitoring program
  • Multimetric index
  • Organic pollution


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