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Unnamed spring near Balneario de Almoloya, Mexico

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Mexico, Jalisco, San Juanito de Escobedo

The habitat I want to describe is a small spring near Balneario de Almoloya, a popular recreation center for the community. It is located near the town of Magdalena in the state of Jalisco, in central-western Mexico. Magdalena lies ca. 80km northwest of Guadalajara.

The Balneario features a rectangular pool full of sand and mud, measuring approx. 20m by 120m. The pool is filled with clear bluish-tinted water from an inflowing spring.

Adjacent to the main pool is a smaller pool measuring around 5m by 10m. This smaller pool connects to a channel that drains into the nearby Laguna del Bordo. It’s important to note that the water does not reach Laguna de Magdalena.

Outside the park, in the northern part before Laguna del Bordo, there are other springs that also hold the same fauna. In this area, including the balneario itself, you can find endemic species of goodeids such as Xenotoca doadrioi, Ameca splendens, Zoogoneticus purhepechus, Goodea atripinnis etc.

Submitted by
Jan Šulc
Approved by
Juan M. Artigas Azas, Jairo Arroyave & Michael Köck
GPS
20.9009590, -104.0790558
Geographical region
Central America
Drainage Basin
Ameca river
River catchment
Water body type
Stream
Water body name
Unnamed spring near Balneario de Almoloya
Water body part
Channel
Water body course
Source
Water body: tributary of
Laguna
Tributary name

Videos above and below water

Water Chemistry

Water information

Water type
Fresh water
Water color
Clear water
Water transparency
High
Concentration of sediments
Low
Water temperature
26 °C
Water flow/curent
Slow

Chemical parameters

pH
7
Conductivity
GH
3 mg/l
KH
3 mg/l
Dissolved Oxygen

Substrate in nature

Sand
Beige
Pebble/Gravel
Mixed
Stone
Mixed
Stone form
Irregular
Silt/Mud
Brown
Leaves
Few
Driftwood
Few
Submerged terrestrial vegetation

Aquatic Biotope

Date of collecting
12/5/2022
Collecting area
River bank
Water depth
0,5m
Air temperature
Sunlight
Partial shade

Environment

Environment
Affected by human activity
Affected by human activity
Agriculture
Agriculture
Advanced
Surrounding area

Balneario de Almoloya, situated in the Municipality of San Juanito de Escobedo, Jalisco, about 1.385 m above sea level, benefits from a mild and pleasant climate. The average temperatures during the summer months range from 18-25°C, while the winter temperatures range from 5-15°C.

In the highland areas of Jalisco, various species of pine and oak trees thrive. The Mexican White Pine and Montezuma Pine are common pine species, while the Encino Oak is prevalent in the region. These trees provide essential habitats for wildlife. The Mexican White Cedar, a coniferous tree, can also be found in the highlands and Ahuehuete (Taxodium mucronatum), the national tree of Mexico, as well.

In the agricultural region surrounding Balneario Almoloya, farmers engage in a variety of activities. Agave cultivation is prominent for the production of tequila and mezcal, with the Blue Agave being the primary plant used. Maize, beans, and horticultural crops like tomatoes, chilies, and avocados are commonly grown. Livestock rearing, including cattle farming for meat and dairy, as well as organic farming practices, have gained significance. The specific agricultural activities may vary based on factors such as soil composition, water availability, and market demand. These activities contribute to the local economy, providing food and resources for both local consumption and commercial trade.

Balneario de Almoloya itself is a popular recreation center for the community.

Underwater landscape

The main pool at Balneario de Almoloya has a sandy, gravelly, and muddy bottom. The areas closer to the spring are primarily composed of sand and gravel, while mud becomes more prevalent as you move away from it. The maximum depth of the main pool reaches around 1.5m.

Aquatic vegetation was scarce, with the exception of green algae, though some bog plants could be seen in certain areas along the shore of the spring. Outside the park in the northern side — before Laguna del Bordo — there are other springs that hold the same fauna and there you can find aquatic vegetation such as Ceratophyllum sp., Eleocharis sp., Egeria sp., Typha sp., Potamogeton sp., Eichhornia sp. and Pistia stratiotes etc. Of course there are roots, rocks and branches on the bottom present. Depth is about 0.5m at maximum.

Regarding conservation, Balneario de Almoloya was in good condition on May 12th, 2022. However, there was a notable abundance of exotic species, including Oreochromis aureus, Poecilia reticulata, Pseudoxiphophorus bimaculatus, and Xiphophorus helleri.

Although the survey was not extensive, Xenotoca melanosoma species were observed on that particular date. The high number of exotic species appears to have an impact on the local fish fauna. The two most abundant native species in the area were Goodea atripinnis and Ameca splendens.

Native species:

  • Xenotoca doadrioi (Goodeidae)
  • Amatitlania siquia (Cichlidae)
  • Zoogoneticus purhepechus (Goodeidae)
  • Goodea atripinnis (Goodeidae)
  • Poecilia butleri (Poeciliidae)
  • Poeciliopsis infans (Poeciliidae)

Exotic species:

  • Oreochromis aureus (Cichlidae)
  • Poecilia reticulata (Poeciliidae)
  • Pseudoxiphophorus bimaculatus (Poeciliidae)
  • Xiphophorus hellerii (Poeciliidae)
Threats to ecology

Jalisco, Mexico, like many other regions, faces various human activities and pollution challenges. Here are some key aspects of human activity and pollution in Jalisco:

Water drainage

  • Ecological consequences: Drainage can have negative impacts on natural ecosystems. Lowering the groundwater level and rapid drainage of rainfall can affect wetlands, river systems, and biodiversity in the area.
  • Shifting the problem: Drainage systems can shift flood risks from one area to another. Increased runoff from a specific location can raise the flood risk in downstream areas.
  • Water pollution: Fast drainage of rainfall from the surface can reduce natural filtration and purification processes. This can lead to increased transport of pollution, such as sediments, toxic substances, or fertilizers, into rivers and lakes.
  • Maintenance requirements: Drainage systems require regular maintenance to function properly. Reduced channel capacity, sedimentation, and growing vegetation can impact drainage efficiency and necessitate repeated maintenance work.

Industrial Pollution

  • Jalisco has a significant industrial presence, particularly in the Guadalajara metropolitan area. Industries such as manufacturing, chemicals, and textiles contribute to air and water pollution through emissions and waste disposal. These activities can release pollutants such as particulate matter, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and heavy metals into the environment.

Urbanization and Traffic

  • Rapid urbanization and population growth in Jalisco, particularly in cities like Guadalajara, contribute to increased vehicular traffic. This leads to air pollution from exhaust emissions, including nitrogen oxides (NOx) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5), which can have detrimental effects on human health and the environment.

Agricultural Practices

  • Agriculture is an essential sector in Jalisco, particularly for the production of crops such as agave, corn, and fruits. However, the use of agrochemicals, such as fertilizers and pesticides, can result in soil and water pollution if not properly managed. Runoff from agricultural areas can carry these chemicals into water bodies, potentially affecting aquatic ecosystems and water quality.

Waste Management

  • Proper waste management is crucial to prevent pollution. However, inadequate waste disposal and recycling practices can lead to environmental contamination. Jalisco faces challenges related to waste management, including improper disposal of solid waste, inadequate treatment of wastewater, and the presence of illegal dumping sites.

Water Pollution

  • Jalisco has several bodies of water, including rivers, lakes, and coastal areas. These water sources can face pollution from various sources, including industrial discharge, agricultural runoff, and inadequate wastewater treatment. Water pollution affects aquatic ecosystems, biodiversity, and can have implications for human health, especially if contaminated water is consumed or used for agricultural purposes.

Conservation Efforts

  • Despite the pollution challenges, Jalisco also has conservation efforts in place to protect its natural resources. This includes the establishment of protected areas, initiatives to promote sustainable practices in agriculture and industry, and programs to improve waste management and reduce pollution.

It’s important to note that efforts are being made to address these pollution issues in Jalisco through regulations, environmental policies, and public awareness campaigns. However, continued monitoring, enforcement, and sustainable practices are necessary to mitigate pollution and preserve theenvironmental quality of the region.

Riparian zone

Trees near the aquatic habitat
Few -

Comment by the expert

Michael Köck: The description of the habitat and the threats as – though focusing on the state Jalisco and not precisely on the locality, where it is partly different – very precise and accurate. The fish list is incomplete though the missing species were mentioned in the text above (Ameca splendens, Xenotoca melanosoma) and Poecilia butleri and the Amatitlania are introduced, they are not native.

Juan M. Artigas Azas: I am very glad that such small place has been taken as a model for this aquarium. Nowadays, Xenotoca doadroi just remains present in two small localities in Jalisco, Balneario Almoloya being one of them. The situation for Ameca splendens is not much better, so encouraging keeping these species and showing them in such a beautiful setup is highly beneficial for the conservation of these two species.

Jairo Arroyave: Videos and photos from above watewr are sufficient; however, there is no underwater documentation, which makes it very difficult to compare BIN with BAM and assess the accuracy of the model. Other than that issue, the description seems thorough and detailed. As pointed out by Michael, some species listed as native are really exotic.