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Rio Grijalva-Usumacinta, Mexico

The Grijalva and Usumacinta Rivers, which join together to form the largest river basin in Mesoamerica, are a center of fish biodiversity and an important area of endemism. The richness and ecological diversity of cichlid and poeciliid fishes is remarkable, and the region contains a mixture of North American and Neotropical fish species. The rivers begin in Guatemala and flow through southern Mexico in the states of Chiapas and Tabasco. Despite the biological and cultural significance of the Grijalva and Usumacinta river network, there is much to learn about the basic ecology of the system and the ecosystem services it provides.

Our prior research has examined cichlid feeding ecology in the Grijalva-Usumacinta delta and patterns of functional diversity of fish communities across the longitudinal gradient of the Grijalva. Current research in this region is aimed at answering these questions:

  • How might planned dams impact diversity of fisheries resources in the Rio Usumacinta?

  • How do stream communities and ecosystems change along gradients of urbanization?

  • How do non-native invasive fish consumers affect ecosystem processes?

This ongoing work is carried out in collaboration with Krista Capps (U. Maine), Manuel Mendoza-Carranza (El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, ECOSUR), Maria Mercedes Castillo (ECOSUR), Rocío Rodiles-Hernández (ECOSUR), Alfonso González-Díaz (ECOSUR), Donovan German (U. California Irvine), Seth Wenger (U. Georgia), and Keith Gido (Kansas State U).

 

A rheophilic Theraps cichlid from the Rio Chacamax, Chiapas

A rheophilic Theraps cichlid from the Rio Chacamax, Chiapas