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Mediterranean saline streams in southeast Spain: What do we know?

AuthorsMillán, Andrés; Velasco, Josefa; Gutiérrez-Cánovas, Cayetano; Arribas, Paula ; Picazo, Félix; Sánchez-Fernández, David ; Abellán, Pedro
KeywordsGenetic diversity
Ecosystem function
Ecophysiological responses
Community structure
Mediterranean running waters
Semiarid streams
Conservation concern
Issue DateDec-2011
CitationJournal of Arid Environments 75(12): 1352-1359 (2011)
AbstractMany Mediterranean streams in arid and semiarid areas are naturally saline systems due to the presence of evaportic rocks of Miocene or Triassic origin. Despite the fact that these aquatic ecosystems are rare in Europe, they are common in southeast of Spain. The environmental constraints of these semiarid saline streams are imposed by both geological and climatic conditions. This paper is a compilation and summary of the principal results obtained from various studies on semiarid saline streams in the Iberian southeast. Available data for these typical environments in the region covers diverse issues such as those regarding their physical and chemical features, typology, biodiversity, community structure and ecosystem functioning, as well as different ecological and evolutionary aspects of their biota (e.g. ecophysiological responses, life cycles and phylogeography). Issues concerning the conservation of these habitats, such as the main human uses, impacts, threats and their management are also summarised. Finally, topics in need of further research are provided. The current knowledge of saline streams in southeastern Spain highlights the physical and ecological singularity of these environments, and their high conservation value. Saline streams are particularly interesting due to their halotolerant/halophilic biota and high number of rare and endemic species. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1016/j.jaridenv.2010.12.010
issn: 0140-1963
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