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Keywords:

  • freshwater molluscs;
  • Gastropoda;
  • Bivalvia;
  • conservation;
  • Mediterranean streams;
  • Guadiana River;
  • Alqueva dam

Abstract

  • 1.
    A study on the distribution pattern and conservation of freshwater molluscs of the south Guadiana River (SW Iberian Peninsula) was carried out between the Alqueva dam and the Atlantic Ocean.
  • 2.
    The knowledge of the distribution and abundance of molluscs before the closure of the Alqueva dam is an important tool for evaluating the potential reduction in diversity and the changes in species conservation status that may occur later.
  • 3.
    Twenty-three species (15 gastropods and 8 bivalves) were found in the study area. The presence of Unio crassus and Potomida littoralis indicates the importance of this basin for the conservation of endangered mussels (Unionidae) in the south Iberian Peninsula.
  • 4.
    Drainage area above the sampling site explained almost 58% of the variation in species richness. Larger drainage areas had a higher number of species, including those endemic to the basin.
  • 5.
    Patterns of habitat use were examined to identify species preferences with respect to the erosional-depositional gradient. Islamia minuta, Pisidium casertanum and Pisidium personatum find their optimum habitat in headwaters, whereas Theodoxus fluviatilis, Mercuria emiliana, Radix auricularia and all unionid species inhabit large and stable habitats downstream without marine influence.
  • 6.
    Populations of invasive Corbicula fluminea were found in the Guadiana River basin, both in rivers with large drainage areas and in brackish waters near the mouths of rivers.

Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.