MACROINVERTEBRATES COMMUNITIES IN AREAS COVERED AND DEVOID OF THE FLOATING FERNS (SALVINIA SPP.) IN BOQUERÓN WILDLIFE REFUGE (BWR) AT CABO ROJO, PUERTO RICO.
Mangrove forests are recognized as highly productive ecosystems; nevertheless, their ecological values, biota, and food webs are complex and yet to be understood. Scientific publications and information on aquatic invertebrates in the mangroves of Puerto Rico are scarce and mostly outdated. The Boquerón Wildlife Refuge (BWR), located in Boquerón, Cabo Rojo, is the largest mangrove forest stand on the western part of the Island. Many of the mangrove channels in the BWR are invaded by thick mats of floating ferns (Salvinia spp.). An assessment of the aquatic macroinvertebrate diversity in three mangrove areas in the BWR invaded by Salvinia spp. and three areas devoid of these plants was conducted, once a month, from June to November of 2013. Three sampling methods were used; aquatic light traps, Malaise emerging traps, and D-net sweeps. Each sampling method rendered a distinctive fauna. The present work summarizes the results from Malaise traps. A total of 3,332 invertebrates were collected and identified; these belonged to 10 orders and 32 families. Mangrove areas with and without Salvinia behave as two distinct habitats. Overall, areas without Salvinia spp. had the highest abundances, mostly of Diptera. The temporal and spatial variations influenced the abundance and the presence of these groups. This study will serve as baseline for future studies and the development of specific biomonitoring and management programs for this particular type of wetland.
Dennis O. Perez Lopez (Primary Presenter/Author), University of Puerto Rico;
Arocho Hernandez Nahira ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Puerto Rico;
Santos Flores Carlos ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Puerto Rico;