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Acta zoológica mexicana

On-line version ISSN 2448-8445Print version ISSN 0065-1737


LOPEZ-SAUT, Edgar G.; RODRIGUEZ-ESTRELLA, Ricardo  and  CHAVEZ-RAMIREZ, Felipe. Are Sandhill cranes indicators of waterbirds species richness on wetlands of the Mexican Plateau?. Acta Zool. Mex [online]. 2014, vol.30, n.2, pp.268-287. ISSN 2448-8445.

Wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems in the world and contain a high diversity of species. Despite this, wetlands are threatened by human activities because function is affected and some of them even disappear, particularly those in desert areas. Therefore, it is necessary to build simple tools but reliable for assessing the quality of a wetland and that can remark the importance of wetlands for biological groups in order to detect species population trends and to propose conservation strategies of wetlands and their biodiversity. An example is the use of particular species as bioindicators of species richness (e.g. of waterfowl). The Sandhill crane (Grus canadensis) depends on wetlands as wintering refuge sites. This crane is listed as a threatened species in Mexico. The aim of this paper is to analyze whether the Sandhill crane can be considered as an indicator of waterbirds' richness species in order to perform a rapid assessment of any wetland the crane uses. Although a correlation between of the presence of cranes and richness of waterbird species was not found a difference was observed in the composition of species and relatively greater species richness in wetlands where it cranes were present. Wetlands were not similar in species composition, thus cranes can be a useful indicator for different assemblages of waterbirds. Using the bio-indicator species analysis the Sandhill crane has a value of 27.5 from a maximum of 32. Therefore, the Sandhill crane can be considered as an indicator of waterbirds species richness in arid wetlands. Long-term studies should be done in order to evaluate the relationships between the abundances of cranes and the total abundance of waterbirds in order to evaluate the quality of wetlands in relation to abundance.

Keywords : Bioindicator; sandhill crane; Mexico; arid wetlands; Chihuahua desert; species at risk.

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