, Volume 719, Issue 1, pp 187–213 | Cite as

Biodiversity in Mediterranean-climate streams of California

  • Joan E. Ball
  • Leah A. Bêche
  • Patina K. Mendez
  • Vincent H. Resh


Although the California mediterranean climate region is widely considered a biodiversity hotspot for terrestrial plants and vertebrates, freshwater biodiversity in this region is generally not well known. Using information from museum specimen databases, published literature, biological assessment surveys, and specialist’s knowledge, we review freshwater biodiversity for several groups of stream organisms in the med-climate region of California, which includes 2,220 species in 292 families. The groups with the highest diversity of lotic species are aquatic insects and diatoms, which comprise 39 and 36 % of species in our lists, respectively. Sequential floods and drying periods limit the overall biodiversity of many stream organisms in California mediterranean rivers, and continued climate and land-use change may cause disproportionate biodiversity declines in the region. However, only 4 % of lotic species have been evaluated in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and many assessments are outdated. Future development of online databases for botanical and zoological collections will significantly enhance biodiversity and distribution knowledge. This information will enable us to more accurately and efficiently assess the effects of global change on biodiversity of freshwater organisms, to evaluate conservation status of individual taxa, and to set conservation priorities for stream ecosystems.


Endemics Fauna Flora Lotic Rivers Species traits 



This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DBI 0956389. We also thank our colleagues who provided data and resources necessary to create species lists for this biodiversity summary: R. Baumann, B. Kondratieff, C. Rogers, K. Biggs, T. Manolis, E. DeWalt, K. Cummings, R. Moe, W. Shepard, S. Spaulding, and J. Morse.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joan E. Ball
    • 1
  • Leah A. Bêche
    • 1
  • Patina K. Mendez
    • 1
  • Vincent H. Resh
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Science, Policy and ManagementUniversity of CaliforniaCAUSA

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