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Recolonization Process and Fish Assemblage Dynamics in the Guadiamar River (SW Spain) After the Aznalcóllar Mine Toxic Spill

De Miguel, RJ and Galvez-Bravo, L and Oliva-Paterna, FJ and Cayuela, L and Fernández-Delgado, C (2015) Recolonization Process and Fish Assemblage Dynamics in the Guadiamar River (SW Spain) After the Aznalcóllar Mine Toxic Spill. River Research and Applications. ISSN 1535-1459

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Abstract

The Guadiamar River (SW Iberian Peninsula) received a major toxic spill (6hm<sup>3</sup>) from a tailing pond in 1998 that defaunated 67km of the main stem. Following early mud removal works, the fish assemblage was annually monitored at four affected sampling sites and one located in the upstream non-affected reach of the Guadiamar River as reference. Fish abundance and assemblage structure were analysed. Principal response curve was applied to assess the recovery trends and to identify the most influential species. A non-metric multidimensional scaling ordination and permutational multivariate analysis of variance were applied to evaluate changes in fish assemblage structure between sites and years. Overall, the affected reaches harboured fish within 2years of the spill. Colonists arrived mainly from the upstream and downstream non-affected Guadiamar River reaches and, to a lesser extent, from three lateral tributaries. It is likely that the proximity, connectivity and environmental conditions of non-affected fish sources greatly influenced the recolonization process in each site. The structure of the fish community in the affected sites was initially similar to that in the unaffected reference stretch but changed dramatically with time, and each site followed its own trajectory. Currently, long-term threats such as mining leachates, urban sewage, agricultural pollution and exotic fish species expansion have probably exceeded the initial spill effect. This highlights the large effect of anthropogenic factors on freshwater ecosystem resilience, and the need to significantly reduce both pollution and exotic species if the affected reach of the Guadiamar River is to recover fully.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the accepted version of the following article: "Recolonization Process and Fish Assemblage Dynamics in the Guadiamar River (SW Spain) After the Aznalcóllar Mine Toxic Spill" , which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/rra.2944
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0502 Environmental Science And Management, 0907 Environmental Engineering, 0602 Ecology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > QH Natural history
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Divisions: Natural Sciences and Psychology
Publisher: Wiley
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2016 11:47
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2016 23:50
DOI or Identification number: 10.1002/rra.2944
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/3392

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