Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Fall 2017

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

First Advisor

Dr. Andrew Martin

Second Advisor

Dr. Heidi Souder

Third Advisor

Dr. Barbara Demmig-Adams


Limoncocha Lagoon, Ecuador is frequently fished by the local community for subsistence. There is little research on the effect of artisanal fishing on the development and dynamics of the ichthyofauna in the Ecuadorian Amazon. This study aims to analyze biodiversity and species richness of Limoncocha Lagoon as well as of six zones that make up the lagoon. Data were collected via the catches of the local fishermen as they exited the lagoon. Length, weight, and identification was recorded for each individual fish. Location of extraction was reported by the fisherman. A total of 756 individuals and 23 fish species were found. The flood pulse (Junk, Bayley, & Sparks, 1989) greatly influences the population dynamics and trophic levels in Limoncocha Lagoon by increasing the connectivity with the Napo River and therefore allowing migratory species to enter Limoncocha and reproduce. The flooding events take place multiple times each year. Larger individuals can be found in the lagoon during these events, and smaller individuals from recent reproduction can be found just after the floods. The comparison of the six zones demonstrated that there was little difference in species composition of each zone. However, when compared to a census from 2002 from the Reserve, Limoncocha Lagoon showed lower levels of biodiversity, suggesting that the ichthyofauna has been affected by the fishing activities of the Limoncocha community. Future research could focus on the seasonality of fish population biodiversity and species richness in response to drought and flood events.