Amazonian fishes and climate Change
The Amazon basin concentrates the highest freshwater biodiversity on earth. This is especially true for fishes, which, with around 2,300 species recognized, represent around 15% of all freshwater fishes described worldwide. The processes having generated this highly diverse fish fauna are incompletely understood, while there is evidence that the structure and function of Amazonian freshwater ecosystems are being increasingly impacted by rapid expansions in infrastructure and economic activities. Climate change will probably amplify these disturbances. However, until now, there is no comprehensive database available that could help to develop regional conservation programs and contribute to large scales ecosystem management.
The project officially started on November 2015 for a three years period. The AMAZONFISH consortium comprises institutions with extensive experience and international recognition, complementary expertise and interests, and strategic aims in the field of Amazonian fish biodiversity (see website consortium page: www.amazon-fish.com/consortium).
AMAZONFISH aims to build a high quality freshwater fish biodiversity database for the entire Amazon drainage basin. This is done by mobilizing and integrating all information available in published articles, books, grey literature, online databases, foreign and national museums and universities and by checking for systematic reliability and consistency for each species recorded. At this time the database includes more than 10,000 sampled sites and 2250 valid species (Figure 1). A Geographic Information System (GIS) including all environmental factors meaningful in explaining fish species distribution has been linked to this biological database and basin-wide biogeographic analyses are currently performed using species range distribution, overall species richness, endemism and beta diversity descriptors. This will allow, amongst other things, describing the patterns of biodiversity and discussing the potential processes generating these patterns, defining degrees of irreplaceability and representativeness of the different communities (i.e. “hotspots”) and projecting potential changes in community structure due to future global changes. By generating a high quality freshwater fish biodiversity database, describing the patterns of biodiversity and discussing the potential processes generating these patterns, defining biodiversity hotspots and projecting future trends in community structure the project AMAZONFISH will help developing regional conservation programs and contribute to large scales transnational ecosystem management.