Rev. biol. mar. oceanogr. 47(1): 23-33 



Benthic macroinvertebrate assemblages as indicators of water quality applying a modified biotic index in a spatio-seasonal context in a coastal basin of Southern Chile

Pablo Fierro1, Carlos Bertrán1, Maritza Mercado2, Fernando Peña-Cortés3, Jaime Tapia4, Enrique Hauenstein3 & Luis Vargas-Chacoff1

1Institute of Marine Science and Limnology, Universidad Austral de Chile, Independencia 641, Valdivia, Chile

2Benthos, Laboratory of Aquatic Entomology, Ruta T-350, Km 12, Valdivia, Chile
3Territorial Planning Laboratory, Universidad Católica de Temuco, Manuel Montt 56, Temuco, Chile
4Institute of Chemistry and Natural Resources, Universidad de Talca, Avenida 2 Norte 685, Talca, Chile

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The water quality in a Southern Chile river was characterized using the Biotic Index in a spatio-seasonal context, to analyze the composition and distribution of benthic macroinvertebrates and their correlation with 14 physico-chemical parameters. Sampling was done over a year at 5 sampling stations in the basin of the Boroa River. A total of 77 taxa were recorded, with the most represented orders being the Ephemeroptera (43.30%), Diptera (24.16%) and Plecoptera (18.03%). The most abundant species were Meridialaris diguillina, Nousia maculata (Ephemeroptera) and Limnoperla jaffueli (Plecoptera). According to the modified FBI (Family Biotic Index), the findings indicated excellent, very good and good water quality, the latter quality being registered principally in winter. Likewise, the physico-chemical parameters indicated exceptional water quality. These results suggested a low level of anthropogenic impact in the basin. Applying the modified Hilsenhoff Biotic Index based on macroinvertebrates, the influence of seasonality on water quality was evident. 


Key words: Seasonality, Chilean rivers