Reservoir longitudinal gradient promotes ordered losses on diversity and density of Ephemeroptera community

Abstract Reservoir operations alter, eliminate or restrain the natural hydrologic cycles. Biotic community has become subject to these non-cyclic events, responding by reducing the species diversity. Ephemeroptera species present distinct responses to environmental deterioration such that poses this assemblage between the most useful groups in biomonitoring programs. We hypothesized an alteration in beta diversity at the longitudinal species gradient, which will be influenced mainly by species losses between zones. Changes in temporal beta diversity is also expected, but the main drivers of such alterations will be the species turnover between the sampling period. Ephemeroptera community was monitored in nine sampling points from Itaipu Reservoir, where were installed three sets of substrates composed by a float and 2 wooden substrates. We took biological samples in triplicates monthly, from June-01 to August-02. Our initial hypothesis was partially supported and with significant variations only for spatial approach, between the Reservoir zones. The generated ordering from Non-Metric Dimensional Scale – NMDS - corroborated with spatial analyzes, with the formation of two groups along the gradient zonation of the reservoir. The temporal ordination showed no clear pattern. As expected, the contribution to beta diversity was different for our two approaches, such that the loss of species was more important along the spatial gradient and despite of no significant result, the species replacement was more important among months. The spatial results lead us to infer that differences in limnological characteristics between zones are important for determining differences in Ephemeroptera composition and can reflect the dependency degree of the species in relation to the lentic and sometimes-lotic conditions, mainly in the riverine zone of reservoirs. On the other hand, the absence of a temporal pattern can be result of chaotic variations in the physical and chemical attributes imposed by the reservoir operation, disrupting continuity of the biota and natural succession processes.