Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 96, Issue 1, pp 77–92 | Cite as

Environmental factors associated with fish distribution in an urban neotropical river (Upper Tietê River Basin, São Paulo, Brazil)

  • Natália Furlan
  • Katharina Eichbaum Esteves
  • Gilson Alves Quináglia


The rivers and streams of the large urban centers in Southeast Brazil are increasingly being degraded, demanding expanded conservation efforts. This study was conducted in the Grande River, one of the main tributaries of the Billings Complex, a reservoir that is a strategic fresh water resource for the São Paulo metropolitan region. Water quality, habitat features and fish fauna were investigated at seven sites along the longitudinal gradient with the aim of identifying the distribution patterns and relative contributions of the environmental factors. The water samples and environmental characteristics were recorded, and fish were collected during the rainy (January to March) and dry seasons (July and August) of 2009. The water quality varied along the river, with higher values of conductivity, fecal coliforms and total phosphorus in the lower reach, indicating a strong influence of the urban area. Twenty-two fish species were recorded, two of which are considered endangered. A canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) indicated marked differences in species composition between the river’s upper and lower reaches, which was mainly attributed to vegetation cover and the presence of different meso-habitats, such as riffles and pools. Trychomycterus spp. and Astyanax paranae were associated with the upper reaches, while Astyanax fasciatus and Astyanax bockmanni, Cyphocharax modestus, Hoplias malabaricus and Hypostomus ancistroides occurred in the lower reaches. Despite the disturbance in water quality and riparian vegetation in the lower river section, no detectable changes in community structure were observed. However, the presence of some tolerant species, such as Astyanax fasciatus, Hoplosternum littorale and Hypostomus ancistroides, may indicate that the community is experiencing initial stages of disturbance.


Water quality Fish community structure Billings Reservoir Anthropogenic influences Pollution 



We thank following people and institutions: the Instituto de Pesca (APTA/ SAA) and Companhia Ambiental do Estado de São Paulo (CETESB) for providing the infrastructure and their technicians, who assisted in the laboratory and field work; Paranapiacaba Municipality for permission to collect in the “Parque Natural Municipal das Nascentes de Paranapiacaba”; Ingo Grantsau for information about the region and support in the field; IBAMA for the sampling license (no 17948-1 930-1); Osvaldo T. Oyakawa for the fish identification; Eduardo Tavares Paes for help in statistical analysis; Regina T. Shirasuna for the identification of grasses; Luiz Fernando Baceti Malavolta for preparing the final map, and fishermen Orlando Feliciano Dias and Vanderlea Rochumback Dias for their invaluable help during the field work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Natália Furlan
    • 1
  • Katharina Eichbaum Esteves
    • 2
  • Gilson Alves Quináglia
    • 3
  1. 1.Postgraduate Course in Aquaculture and Fisheries, Fisheries Institute, Secretaria da Agricultura e Abastecimento do Estado de São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Centro de Pesquisa e Desenvolvimento em Recursos Hídricos, Instituto de Pesca, APTA, Secretaria da Agricultura e Abastecimento do Estado de São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  3. 3.Companhia Ambiental do Estado de São Paulo – CETESBSão PauloBrazil

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