Ecosystems Components - Lake Xochimilco Mexico

Topics: Water, Introduced species, Axolotl Pages: 3 (942 words) Published: November 17, 2013


Ecosystems Components - Lake Xochimilco Mexico
Daniel Wal
SCI/256
October 22, 2012
Kari Ruder

Ecosystems Components - Lake Xochimilco Mexico
Lake Xochimilco (soh-chee-milkoh) is one in a series of lakes south of Mexico City. What makes this lake unique and interesting is it is the only natural home to one of the most interesting creatures in science, the Ambystoma mexicanum, or Mexican Axolotl – the smiling faced water salamander pictured below. The axolotl is endangered because of loss of habitat, pollution, and the introduction of non-native species to the lake for sport fishing. This salamander is not only endearing because of its smiling face, but also it is widely used in scientific research because of its ability to regrow lost limbs quickly. Even though the axolotl is successfully bred in laboratories and other captive environments, pollution caused by the expanding population of Mexico City, along with other environmental stressors may mean the days are numbered for the wild axolotl. Understanding this animals peril means understanding the Lake Xochimilco ecosystem, how it supports wildlife, attracts tourism, provides drinking water and irrigation for agriculture, and what drives the changes that have affected the lake’s ability to provide these services. (image used under Copyright from http://www.axolotl.org/)

Mexico City, like many other large cities around the world, is putting unprecedented strain on the local ecosystem. Lake Xochimilco was once much larger but in the time of the Spanish conquerors was drained to provide water for the growing human population (RedOrbit, 2008). The lake is still a major water source for Mexico City: for drinking, irrigation, recreation, and tourism. The lake provides a rich diversity of species although wastewater and agricultural runoff flow into the lake affecting the amount of dissolved solids (Lopez, Sedeño-Díaz, & Perozzi., 2006). Nitrates, sulfates, ammonia, and other dissolved...

References: Bride, I. G., Griffiths, R. A., Meléndez-Herrada, A. A., & McKay, J. E. (2008). Flying an amphibian flagship: conservation of the Axolotl
López-López, E. E., Sedeño-Díaz, J. J., & Perozzi, F. (2006). Lipid peroxidation and Acetylcholinesterase activity as biomarkers in the Black Sailfin Goodeid, Girardinichthys viviparous (Bustamante) exposed to water from Lake Xochimilco (Mexico). Aquatic Ecosystem Health & Management, 9(3), 379-385. doi:10.1080/14634980600886871
RedOrbit.com. (2008). ˜Sea Monster’ on verge of extinction in Mexico City. Retrieved from: http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1598919/sea_monster_on_verge_of_extinction_in_mexico_city/. October 21, 2012.
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