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Population viability and perturbation analyses in remnant populations of the Andean catfish Astroblepus ubidiai

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Vélez-Espino LA. Population viability and perturbation analyses in remnant populations of the Andean catfish Astroblepus ubidiai.

Ecology of Freshwater Fish 2005. © Blackwell munksgaard, 2005 Abstract –

Astroblepus ubidiai (Actinopterygii; Siluriformes), which is the only native fish of the highlands of the Province of Imbabura, Ecuador, was abundant in the past in the Imbakucha watershed and adjacent drainages but currently it is restricted to a few isolated refuges. Population viability analysis (PVA) was used to detect critical aspects in the ecology and conservation biology of this unique fish. The annual population growth rate () was estimated for six remnant populations of this Andean catfish using a deterministic matrix population model. Sensitivity and elasticity analyses complemented the PVA by providing constructive insights into vital rates affecting projections and extinction probabilities. Positive population growth rates were found in all the study populations. The high contributions of juvenile survival to the variance of and its high elasticity indicated that A. ubidiai population dynamics are highly sensitive to the transition values of this vital rate, which can promptly respond to management or antagonistic perturbations. Allowing fish to survive until the age of first reproduction and permitting the successful reproduction of these individuals will facilitate positive population growth rates, however the very small areas of occupancy, small extent of occurrence and severe fragmentation may still contribute to the extinction risk.
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Keywords: elasticity; life history; matrix population models; threatened Andean fish

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2005

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