, Volume 817, Issue 1, pp 413–430 | Cite as

Non-native fish species are related to the loss of ecological integrity in Neotropical streams: a multimetric approach

  • Renata Ruaro
  • Roger Paulo Mormul
  • Éder André Gubiani
  • Pitágoras Augusto Piana
  • Almir Manoel Cunico
  • Weferson Júnio da Graça


The use of multimetric indices (MMIs) became a common practice for evaluating ecological integrity of aquatic ecosystems. However, most developed MMIs ignore non-native species as an impact source to establish reference conditions. We developed an MMI to identify if non-native fish species are associated with Neotropical stream integrity by considering the presence of non-native species as an impact source. We calculated and evaluated responsiveness to the presence of non-native species using fish metrics, which were selected with a bootstrap procedure. Streams for calibration and validation were also selected with a bootstrap procedure. From the candidate MMIs generated, we selected models with different combinations of fish metrics. The generated MMIs presented a satisfactory performance in distinguishing reference streams from those impacted by non-native species. The abundance of non-native species was highly correlated with urbanization and seems to be more important than urbanization to drive native abundance loss. Our study is one of the first attempts to develop MMIs in which non-native species are considered as impact sources and used to identify impacted and reference sites. The final MMI that we developed might be a useful tool for aquatic biodiversity conservation and the development and application of non-native species control actions.


Multimetric index Invasive species Reference conditions Biomonitoring Lotic environments 



We thank the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) for a scholarship granted to the first author (141371/2016-1) and supported A.M.Cunico (555185/2006-0). R. P. Mormul is Productivity Researcher at the Brazilian Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) and acknowledges this agency for funding. W.J. Graça was supported by Fundação Araucária (Secretaria da Ciência, Tecnologia e Ensino Superior do Paraná, covenant 471/2013, protocol 36204).

Supplementary material

10750_2018_3542_MOESM1_ESM.docx (15 kb)
List of permanent licenses to collect zoological material by the policies of the Ethical Conduct Committee on Animal Use. Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 15 kb)
10750_2018_3542_MOESM2_ESM.doc (252 kb)
Fish species collected in the sampled sites, as well as number of individuals, trophic category (D = detritivorous, O = omnivorous, H = herbivorous, I = invertivorous and P = piscivorous), origin (N = native and NN= non-native), tolerance to environmental degradation (T = tolerant and I = intolerant) and position in water column (BP = benthopelagic, WC = water column, BEN = benthic and SUR = surface). Supplementary material 2 (DOC 252 kb)
10750_2018_3542_MOESM3_ESM.docx (24 kb)
R software script to prepare the multimetric index to identify sites impacted by non-native fish species. Supplementary material 3 (DOCX 24 kb)
10750_2018_3542_MOESM4_ESM.docx (2.8 mb)
Histogram of the metrics P values. The metrics that presented mean values of probability less than 0.20 (P < 0.20) were included in the MMIs models (Detritivorous fish; Tolerant species; Benthopelagic fish; Surface fish; Evenness; Abundance rank). Supplementary material 4 (DOCX 2879 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Renata Ruaro
    • 1
  • Roger Paulo Mormul
    • 1
    • 7
  • Éder André Gubiani
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Pitágoras Augusto Piana
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Almir Manoel Cunico
    • 5
    • 6
  • Weferson Júnio da Graça
    • 1
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  1. 1.Programa de Pós-graduação em Ecologia de Ambientes Aquáticos ContinentaisUniversidade Estadual de Maringá (UEM)MaringáBrazil
  2. 2.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Recursos Pesqueiros e Engenharia de PescaUniversidade Estadual do Oeste do Paraná (UNIOESTE)ToledoBrazil
  3. 3.Grupo de Pesquisa em Recursos Pesqueiros e Limnologia (GERPEL)Universidade Estadual do Oeste do Paraná (Unioeste)ToledoBrazil
  4. 4.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Conservação e Manejo de Recursos NaturaisUniversidade Estadual do Oeste do Paraná (UNIOESTE)CascavelBrazil
  5. 5.Programa de Pós-graduação em Aquicultura e Desenvolvimento SustentávelUniversidade Federal do ParanáPalotinaBrazil
  6. 6.Laboratório de Ecologia, Pesca e IctiologiaUniversidade Federal do ParanáPalotinaBrazil
  7. 7.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Biologia Comparada, Departamento de Biologia e Núcleo de Pesquisas em Limnologia, Ictiologia e Aquicultura (Nupélia)Universidade Estadual de Maringá (UEM)MaringáBrazil

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