Table of Contents
ISRN Ecology
Volume 2011, Article ID 695492, 4 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.5402/2011/695492
Research Article

Fish Species Richness in Lowland Streams with a Geothermal Input Phenomenon, Sarapiquí de Heredia, Costa Rica

LARNAVISI, Escuela de Ciencias Biológicas, Universidad Nacional, 86-3000 Heredia, Costa Rica

Received 26 December 2010; Accepted 26 January 2011

Academic Editor: L. Wang

Copyright © 2011 Jimena Golcher Benavides and Maurizzio Protti Quesada. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Lowland streams of the Caribbean Costa Rican slope are naturally enriched by minerals and solutes such as phosphorus, a phenomenon known as geothermal input. The resulting stream phosphorus gradient affects the food web by altering primary production, leading to complex biotic and abiotic interactions. The objective of this study was to describe fish species richness patterns in relation to a naturally occurring phosphorus gradient in three lowland streams. We hypothesized that phosphorus input in La Selva Biological Station streams is correlated with species richness. 354 individuals were identified at 4 sites: Surá, El Salto, Sábalo and Jaguar, using a cast net, a total of 150 throws were made, distributed in 10 samplings, at each site. An estimation of species richness along with alpha and beta diversity indices were calculated in order to describe fish community structure. Species richness was estimated to be higher at Jaguar but presents a lower phosphorus enrichment. Jaguar and Sábalo, differed the most while Salto and Surá were the most similar as indicated by species turnover among streams. There is a non significant relationship between phosphorus levels and diversity; however, this interesting trend encourages further studies on species richness patterns and natural nutrient enrichment of streams.