“Selection of Priority Areas for Fish Conservation in Guadiana River Basin” by Filipe


The research discussed in this paper is dedicated to the problem of conservation of native freshwater fishes. From the very beginning, authors underline the fact that freshwater biodiversity undergoes considerable changes and challenges, this is why it is very important to take considerable actions and improve the situation. In this article, a species-by-species approach is developed in a clear and comprehensible way in order to protect certain areas for conversations of fishes.


The method presented in the article is based on selecting the important areas in order to form metapopulations which may help to protect species of limited distribution (Filipe et al, 2004). Severe natural conditions like droughts and floods along with human interference like dam construction for supplying agriculture and human consumption pose a great danger that threatens the Guadiana River basin and the fish species inhabited it.

About 200 sites were sampled during 3 years. And Taxa, in their turn, were sampled by electro-fishing for 15 minutes (Filipe et al., 2004). However, all the sites used were sampled just once, thus the sampling effort may have been insufficient (Filipe et al., 2004).

Data from the first sampling year (1999) was validated because it was based on data collected in 2000 and 2001 (Filipe et al., 2004). The use of such data and some other important points like variables of climate, hydrology, and human activities helped to create a predictive model for the given research.


The results section includes several tables, a graph, and a map. Each table has its own function: for example, the first table explained the idea of occurrence by means of the predicative model. It is seen that hispanica has the highest level of occurrence, and alburnoides – the lowest one. The second table introduces the results of conservation value for every single native fish under consideration that varies considerably under different conditions. With the help of the map given, it is easy to see that the Guadiana River reaches, the biggest tributaries downstream reaches, and a couple of smaller southern tributaries reaches have the higher conservation value (Filipe et al., 2004). At the graph there is a curve of reaches conservation value of the middle region of the Guadiana River basin. The stabilizing points of the graph are the optimum area conservation value. Finally, priority of the areas that require for conservation has been identified.


With the help of the article, it becomes clear that one of the possible ways to conserve threatened species consists in selection of the most suitable areas. However, the researchers emphasize that, in spite of a great meaning of selecting, the area as well as the establishment of the discrete reserves is not enough to protect freshwater fishes (Filipe et al., 2004). This is why fishes of the whole world are under a threat. The process of conservation remains to be too weak, and not much can be done to protect all fishes. The approach offered in this article is a kind of defensive collection of the methods which help to identify the areas which are in demand to be protected and the tools which aim at solving problems, arranging fish diversity, and evaluating people’s role in this conversation process. In general, there are a number of actions which may be done to improve the situation with freshwater fishes, and the authors of this article represent one of the possible ways to take into consideration.

Reference List

Filipe, A., Marques, T., Seabra, S., Tiago, P., Ribeiro, F., Moreira da Costa, L., Cowx, I., &Collares-Pereira, M. (2004) Selection of Priority Areas for Fish Conservation in Guadiana River Basin, Iberian Peninsula. Conservation Biology, 18(1), 189-200.