The Cunas River is a valuable natural freshwater heritage in the central region of Peru, where diverse economic activities depend on the quantity and quality of its waters. The environmental health of the Cunas River was assessed through indicators of the diversity of benthic macroinvertebrate communities and multivariate statistical methods. Water and sediment samples were collected in sectors of three populated centers during 2017. Indicators of water quality and diversity of benthic macroinvertebrates were determined. The results reveal that most of the water quality indicators are in the range of the water quality standards of rivers in Peru. Twenty-six families of benthic macroinvertebrates were identified. The principal component analysis (PCA) of the water quality indicators through the first two components explained 79.59% of the total variance. Cluster analysis in relation to the relative abundance of benthic macroinvertebrates grouped the sampling sites into groups with similar characteristics. Principal coordinate analysis (PCO) analysis of benthic macroinvertebrate communities showed a clear separation of sites. The percentage similarity (SIMPER) analysis at the family level showed the percentage of contribution of species to the benthic fauna community. The canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) identified water quality variables that influence the distribution of benthic macroinvertebrate communities. Therefore, the information obtained will be useful for the management of similar rivers.
Part of the book: Advances in the Studies of the Benthic Zone