, Volume 575, Issue 1, pp 271–284 | Cite as

Deforestation and sewage effects on aquatic macroinvertebrates in urban streams in Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil

  • Sheyla R. M. Couceiro
  • Neusa Hamada
  • Sérgio L. B. Luz
  • Bruce R. Forsberg
  • Tânia Pena Pimentel
Primary Research Paper


In the last few years, awareness in developed countries has increased regarding the importance of urban watercourses as essential natural resources for human well being. Macroinvertebrates have been used as bioindicators to complement physico-chemical evaluation of water quality after environmental perturbations. The city of Manaus is closely associated with the Amazonian rain forest and with its dense hydrographic network. Any perturbation, such as deforestation and/or water pollution in the city’s streams, therefore causes changes in the local ecosystem as the population increases. In this study, 65 streams were sampled in October and November 2003. Samples were taken from stream-bed sediment in the center of the channel and litter/sediment at the edge of the stream. Deforestation, total Nitrogen (TN), total Phosphorus (TP), depth, width, electrical conductivity, temperature and dissolved Oxygen (DO) were measured. A total of 115,549 specimens were collected, distributed among 152 taxa. Oligochaeta, Chironomus, Psychodidae and Ceratopogonidae were the taxa with the greatest frequencies of occurrence and the highest total abundances. Higher deforestation, TN and TP were correlated with lower DO and greater electrical conductivity, pH and water temperature. Deforestation, TN and TP were not associated with water velocity and stream width. Depth was the only variable correlated (negatively) with deforestation and not correlated with TN and TP. Greater deforestation, TN and TP were correlated with lower richness of taxa; but these variables did not affect abundance. Canonical Correspondence Analysis ordenated the streams into two groups; the majority of the streams were in the group with high levels of deforestation and with high values of TP, TN, pH, electrical conductivity and temperature, where the macroinvertebrates were reduced to a few taxa. The other group was composed of streams that were well oxygenated and deep, where richness of taxa was higher. These results indicate changes in community composition in response to changes in environmental conditions. The highest taxa correlation was with streams that were well oxygenated and had the greatest depth and water velocity. Species Indicator Analysis identified 29 taxa as indicators of nonimpacted streams, 16 as indicators of deforested streams and three as indicators of streams impacted by deforestation and domestic sewage. Of the total sampled streams, 80% were impacted by deforestation and water pollution and had fauna tolerant of these perturbations. Water pollution, represented by TN and TP, affected the macroinvertebrate fauna in a way similar to deforestation, i.e., causing reduction in taxa richness, simplifying the insect community composition without changing abundance. Use of the taxa suggested in this study as environmental indicators could improve the evaluation of water quality in the streams in Central Amazonia.


Urban streams Aquatic macroinvertebrates Environmental indicators Deforestation Domestic sewage Neotropical streams 



We thank MCT/INPA, MCT/CNPq, CAPES and FIOCRUZ for financial and logistic support. Marcelo Moura (Pinguela) and PDBFF helped establish the vegetation buffers with satellite images. Dr. Frederico F. Salles (Ephemeroptera), MsC. Luana F. da Silva (Odonata) and Dr. Célio Magalhães (Decapoda) provided taxonomic identification of specimens. Dr. Ana Maria O. Pes, MsC. Domingos L.V. Pereira and Dr. Susana Trivinho-Strixino helped in the identification of Trichoptera, Heteroptera and Chironomidae, respectively. Jéferson Oliveira da Silva collaborated in the fieldwork and Jansen Almeida helped sort the macroinvertebrates in the laboratory. Dr. Philip M. Fearnside provided comments on the manuscript.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sheyla R. M. Couceiro
    • 1
  • Neusa Hamada
    • 2
  • Sérgio L. B. Luz
    • 3
  • Bruce R. Forsberg
    • 4
  • Tânia Pena Pimentel
    • 4
  1. 1.Instituto de Ciências – ICC sulUniversidade de BrasíliaBrasiliaBrazil
  2. 2.Coordenação de Pesquisas em EntomologiaInstituto Nacional de Pesquisas da AmazôniaManausBrazil
  3. 3.Centro de Pesquisas Leônidas Maria Deane, BiodiversidadeFundação Oswaldo CruzManausBrazil
  4. 4.Coordenação de Pesquisas em EcologiaInstituto Nacional de Pesquisas da AmazôniaManausBrazil

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