The Research - Monitoring water quality in axolotl's refuges at Xochimilco, Mexico

Freshwater Watchers monitored water quality and ecosystem indicators in the southern part of Mexico City at Xochimilco, a freshwater system high in natural biodiversity. The system is composed of chinampas and canals which connect a number of small lakes and wetlands. It supports 140 species of migratory birds and native species such as the axolotl salamander and acocil crayfish.

Conservation of the native species in Xochimilco is strongly linked to the preservation of agricultural land, known as Chinampa, a traditional system of farming in used since Aztec times. Canals and chinampas form an environmental unit that provides a unique ecological niche for aquatic species.

The introduction of exotic fish as well as the intensive use of agrochemicals has changed the structure of the system, resulting in the disappearance of a number of organisms that live on the canal bottoms. These organisms act as food sources for both the axolotl and the acocil, and consequently their populations have also fallen.

The main objective of this project was to ascertain how land use, agricultural techniques and seasonality affect the micro habitat conditions inside refuges of the axolotl and acocil crayfish. The goal was to provide data to enable the chinampas and canals to be restored and for refuges for the axolotl and acocil to be created, increasing their populations.

This project ran from 2012 to 2016. Watch our Four years of success video.

    Prof. Elsa Valiente Riveros

Lead Project Scientist: Prof. Elsa Valiente Riveros, Restauración Ecológica y Desarrollo A.C.