Macroinvertebrate Assemblages (macroinvertebrate + assemblage)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

The influence of stream invertebrate composition at neighbouring sites on local assemblage composition

Summary 1. The composition of freshwater invertebrate assemblages at a location is determined by a range of physico-chemical and biotic factors in the local environment, as well as larger-scale spatial factors such as sources of recruits. We assessed the relative importance of the species composition of local neighbourhoods and proximal environmental factors on the composition of invertebrate assemblages. 2. Macroinvertebrate assemblages were sampled at 188 running-water sites in the catchment of the River Rede, north-east England. A total of 176 species were recorded. 3. Environmental data, in the form of 13 biotic and abiotic measurements that described stream physical structure, aquatic vegetation and water characteristics, were recorded for each site. Detrended correspondence analysis was then used to simplify nine of these stream environmental variables to create an index of stream structure. 4. The species composition of the invertebrate assemblages was related to the environmental variables, using an information theoretic approach. The impact of the species composition of neighbouring sites on each site was determined using Moran's I and autoregressive modelling techniques. 5. Species composition was primarily associated with water pH and stream structure. The importance of the species composition of neighbouring sites in determining local species assemblages differed markedly between taxa. The autoregressive component was low for Coleoptera, intermediate for Trichoptera and Plecoptera, and high for Ephemeroptera. 6. We hypothesise that the observed differences in the autoregressive component amongst these orders reflects variation in their dispersal abilities from neighbouring sites. [source]

Lotic dispersal of lentic macroinvertebrates

ECOGRAPHY, Issue 2 2006
Frank Van de Meutter
Little is known on dispersal of lentic macroinvertebrates. We quantified dispersal of lentic macroinvertebrates through pond connections in a highly connected pond system, and investigated how dispersal rates were affected by connection properties and time of the day (day, night). Furthermore, by comparing the composition of assemblages of dispersing macroinvertebrates with the macroinvertebrate assemblages of source ponds, we tested whether dispersal was neutral or a taxon-specific process. We found that many taxa dispersed through the pond connections. Taxa richness of the dispersing macroinvertebrate assemblage was proportional to taxa richness in the source ponds. The number of individuals that dispersed, however, was not related to source pond densities, possibly because of the highly patchy distribution of lentic macroinvertebrates within ponds. Elevated dispersal rates were recorded for Baetidae, Chironomidae and Physidae, indicating a taxon-specific use of pond connections as dispersal pathway. None of the physical properties of the connections affected dispersal. Macroinvertebrates dispersed more during the night than during daytime. Of seven tested families, Chaoboridae and Chironomidae showed higher dispersal during the night, probably resulting from diel vertical migration, since pond connections mainly transported near-surface water. Flying and non-flying invertebrates dispersed equally frequent through pond connections. For non-flying invertebrates that disperse infrequently over land, dispersal through pond connections may provide an important additional means of dispersal. [source]

Selecting discriminant function models for predicting the expected richness of aquatic macroinvertebrates

Summary 1. The predictive modelling approach to bioassessment estimates the macroinvertebrate assemblage expected at a stream site if it were in a minimally disturbed reference condition. The difference between expected and observed assemblages then measures the departure of the site from reference condition. 2. Most predictive models employ site classification, followed by discriminant function (DF) modelling, to predict the expected assemblage from a suite of environmental variables. Stepwise DF analysis is normally used to choose a single subset of DF predictor variables with a high accuracy for classifying sites. An alternative is to screen all possible combinations of predictor variables, in order to identify several ,best' subsets that yield good overall performance of the predictive model. 3. We applied best-subsets DF analysis to assemblage and environmental data from 199 reference sites in Oregon, U.S.A. Two sets of 66 best DF models containing between one and 14 predictor variables (that is, having model orders from one to 14) were developed, for five-group and 11-group site classifications. 4. Resubstitution classification accuracy of the DF models increased consistently with model order, but cross-validated classification accuracy did not improve beyond seventh or eighth-order models, suggesting that the larger models were overfitted. 5. Overall predictive model performance at model training sites, measured by the root-mean-squared error of the observed/expected species richness ratio, also improved steadily with DF model order. But high-order DF models usually performed poorly at an independent set of validation sites, another sign of model overfitting. 6. Models selected by stepwise DF analysis showed evidence of overfitting and were outperformed by several of the best-subsets models. 7. The group separation strength of a DF model, as measured by Wilks',, was more strongly correlated with overall predictive model performance at training sites than was DF classification accuracy. 8. Our results suggest improved strategies for developing reliable, parsimonious predictive models. We emphasise the value of independent validation data for obtaining a realistic picture of model performance. We also recommend assessing not just one or two, but several, candidate models based on their overall performance as well as the performance of their DF component. 9. We provide links to our free software for stepwise and best-subsets DF analysis. [source]

Climate change effects on upland stream macroinvertebrates over a 25-year period

Abstract Climate change effects on some ecosystems are still poorly known, particularly where they interact with other climatic phenomena or stressors. We used data spanning 25 years (1981,2005) from temperate headwaters at Llyn Brianne (UK) to test three hypotheses: (1) stream macroinvertebrates vary with winter climate; (2) ecological effects attributable to directional climate change and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) are distinguishable and (3) climatic effects on macroinvertebrates depend on whether streams are impacted by acidification. Positive (i.e. warmer, wetter) NAO phases were accompanied by reduced interannual stability (=similarity) in macroinvertebrate assemblage in all streams, but associated variations in composition occurred only in acid moorland. The NAO and directional climate change together explained 70% of interannual variation in temperature, but forest and moorland streams warmed respectively by 1.4 and 1.7°C (P<0.001) between 1981 and 2005 after accounting for NAO effects. Significant responses among macroinvertebrates were confined to circumneutral streams, where future thermal projections (+1, +2, +3°C) suggested considerable change. Spring macroinvertebrate abundance might decline by 21% for every 1°C rise. Although many core species could persist if temperature gain reached 3°C, 4,10 mostly scarce taxa (5,12% of the species pool) would risk local extinction. Temperature increase in Wales approaches this magnitude by the 2050s under the Hadley HadCM3 scenarios. These results support all three hypotheses and illustrate how headwater stream ecosystems are sensitive to climate change. Altered composition and abundance could affect conservation and ecological function, with the NAO compounding climate change effects during positive phases. We suggest that acidification, in impacted streams, overrides climatic effects on macroinvertebrates by simplifying assemblages and reducing richness. Climatic processes might, nevertheless, exacerbate acidification or offset biological recovery. [source]

Lotic dispersal of lentic macroinvertebrates

ECOGRAPHY, Issue 2 2006
Frank Van de Meutter
Little is known on dispersal of lentic macroinvertebrates. We quantified dispersal of lentic macroinvertebrates through pond connections in a highly connected pond system, and investigated how dispersal rates were affected by connection properties and time of the day (day, night). Furthermore, by comparing the composition of assemblages of dispersing macroinvertebrates with the macroinvertebrate assemblages of source ponds, we tested whether dispersal was neutral or a taxon-specific process. We found that many taxa dispersed through the pond connections. Taxa richness of the dispersing macroinvertebrate assemblage was proportional to taxa richness in the source ponds. The number of individuals that dispersed, however, was not related to source pond densities, possibly because of the highly patchy distribution of lentic macroinvertebrates within ponds. Elevated dispersal rates were recorded for Baetidae, Chironomidae and Physidae, indicating a taxon-specific use of pond connections as dispersal pathway. None of the physical properties of the connections affected dispersal. Macroinvertebrates dispersed more during the night than during daytime. Of seven tested families, Chaoboridae and Chironomidae showed higher dispersal during the night, probably resulting from diel vertical migration, since pond connections mainly transported near-surface water. Flying and non-flying invertebrates dispersed equally frequent through pond connections. For non-flying invertebrates that disperse infrequently over land, dispersal through pond connections may provide an important additional means of dispersal. [source]

The effects of an underwater fish observation technique on stream macroinvertebrates at two spatial scales

J. T. Petty
Abstract , We examined the effects of snorkeling, a commonly used fish observation technique, on the distribution and abundance of benthic macroinvertebrates at both the reach (i.e., 10 m) and patch scale (i.e.,< 1 m) within a southern Appalachian stream (North Carolina, USA). At the reach scale, we quantified increases in macroinvertebrate drift rates associated with snorkeling and used these values to calculate the percentage of the macrobenthos that drifted out of snorkeled reaches. We also used a simple decay model of macroinvertebrate drift to quantify patch scale effects of snorkeling. The model incorporated size specific macroinvertebrate settling rates to estimate the total number of benthic macroinvertebrates that entered the drift in response to snorkeling disturbance. We found that snorkeling consistently produced significant increases in the number of drifting macroinvertebrates. Nevertheless, these increases comprised a very small percentage (<1%) of the total number of organisms in the benthos, suggesting that snorkeling probably did not strongly affect macroinvertebrate assemblages at either the reach or patch scale. However, our analyses also indicated that snorkeling had a disproportionate effect on the drift of small ephemeropterans (4,5% entered the drift in response to snorkeling) relative to other macroinvertebrate taxa. Consequently, the microdistribution of early instar mayflies may have been altered within snorkeled reaches. We conclude that snorkeling related disturbance to the benthos should have a minimal effect on the behavior and distribution of most stream fishes at either the reach or patch scale. However, because snorkeling had a substantial effect on the drift of small mayflies, snorkeling may influence the behavior of fishes that depend on early instar mayflies as a primary food resource., [source]

Effects of long-chain hydrocarbon-polluted sediment on freshwater macroinvertebrates

Vincent Pettigrove
Abstract High-molecular weight (>C16) hydrocarbons (HMWHs) are common pollutants in sediments of freshwater systems, particularly urban water bodies. No sediment quality guidelines exist for total hydrocarbons; more emphasis is placed on polyaromatic hydrocarbons, the most toxic component of hydrocarbons. A field-based microcosm experiment was conducted to determine whether unpolluted sediments spiked with synthetic motor oil impair freshwater macroinvertebrate assemblages. Total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH) concentrations of 860 mg/kg dry weight significantly increased the abundance of Polypedilum vespertinus and Cricotopus albitarsis and decreased the abundance of Paratanytarsus grimmii adults (all Chironomidae), whereas TPH concentrations ranging from 1,858 to 14,266 mg/kg produced a significant reduction in the total numbers of taxa and abundance, with significant declines in the abundance of nine chironomid taxa. About 28% of water bodies surveyed in urban Melbourne, Australia, had TPH concentrations in sediments likely to cause ecological impairment, and about 14% of the water bodies surveyed are likely to have reduced species richness and abundance. Therefore, HMWHs can be a significant pollutant in urban water bodies. Freshwater sediment quality guidelines should be developed for this ubiquitous urban pollutant. [source]

The effects of water-level manipulation on the benthic invertebrates of a managed reservoir

Summary 1. Reservoir creation and management can enhance many ecological services provided by freshwater ecosystems, but may alter the natural conditions to which aquatic biota have adapted. Benthic macroinvertebrates often reflect environmental conditions, and this community may be particularly susceptible to water-level changes that alter sediment exposure, temperature regime, wave-induced sediment redistribution and basal productivity. 2. Using a before,after control,impact experimental design, we assessed changes in macroinvertebrate community structure corresponding with changes in water-level management in two lentic systems in the Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota, U.S.A. Littoral zone (depths 1,5 m) benthic macroinvertebrate assemblages were sampled in Rainy Lake (control system) and Namakan Reservoir (impact system) in 1984,85, and again in 2004,05 following a change in water-level management that began in January 2000. The new regime reduced the magnitude of winter drawdown in Namakan Reservoir from 2.5 to 1.5 m, and allowed the reservoir to fill to capacity in late May, a month earlier than under the prior regime. Rainy Lake water levels were not altered substantially. 3. We found changes in macroinvertebrate community structure in Namakan Reservoir relative to Rainy Lake at 1,2 m depths but not at 3,5 m depths. These shallower depths would have been most directly affected by changes in sediment exposure and ice formation. 4. In 2004,05, Namakan Reservoir benthos showed lower overall abundance, more large-bodied taxa and an increase in non-insect invertebrates relative to 1984,85, without corresponding changes in Rainy Lake. 5. Changes in the benthic community in Namakan may reflect cooler water in spring and early summer as well as lower resource availability (both autochthonous production and allochthonous inputs) under the new regime. [source]

Similar breakdown rates and benthic macroinvertebrate assemblages on native and Eucalyptus globulus leaf litter in Californian streams

Summary 1.,Eucalyptus globulus, a tree species planted worldwide in many riparian zones, has been reported to affect benthic macroinvertebrates negatively. Although there is no consensus about the effects of Eucalyptus on aquatic macrobenthos, its removal is sometimes proposed as a means of ecological restoration. 2.,We combined the sampling of macroinvertebrates with measurement of the colonisation of leaf packs in mesh bags, to examine the effects of riparian Eucalyptus and its litter on benthic macroinvertebrates in three small streams in California, U.S.A. Each stream included one reach bordered by Eucalyptus (E-site) and a second bordered by native vegetation (N-site). 3.,The macrobenthos was sampled and two sets of litter bags were deployed at each site: one set with Eucalyptus litter (Euc-bags) and one with mixed native tree litter (Nat-bags) containing Quercus, Umbellularia, Acer and Alnus. Bags were exposed for 28, 56 and 90 days and this experiment was repeated in the autumn, winter and spring to account for effects of changing stream flow and insect phenology. 4.,Litter input (average dry mass: 950 g m,2 year,1 in E-sites versus 669 g m,2 year,1 in N-sites) was similar, although in-stream litter composition differed between E- and N-sites. Litter broke down at similar rates in Euc-bags and Nat-bags (0.0193 day,1 versus 0.0134 day,1), perhaps reflecting the refractory nature of some of the leaves of the native trees (Quercus agrifolia). 5.,Summary metrics for macroinvertebrates (taxon richness, Shannon diversity, pollution tolerance index) did not differ significantly between the E and N sites, or between Euc-bags and Nat-bags. No effect of exposure time or site was detected by ordination of the taxa sampled. However, distinct seasonal ordination clusters were observed in winter, spring and autumn, and one of the three streams formed a separate cluster. 6.,The presence of Eucalyptus was less important in explaining the taxonomic composition of the macrobenthos than either ,season' or ,stream'. Similarly, these same two factors (but not litter species) also helped explain the variation in leaf breakdown. We conclude that patches of riparian Eucalyptus and its litter have little effect on stream macrobenthos in this region. [source]

Functional biodiversity of macroinvertebrate assemblages along major ecological gradients of boreal headwater streams

JANI HEINOArticle first published online: 3 AUG 200
Summary 1. Biodiversity,environment relationships are increasingly well-understood in the context of species richness and species composition, whereas other aspects of biodiversity, including variability in functional diversity (FD), have received rather little rigorous attention. For streams, most studies to date have examined either taxonomic assemblage patterns or have experimentally addressed the importance of species richness for ecosystem functioning. 2. I examined the relationships of the functional biodiversity of stream macroinvertebrates to major environmental and spatial gradients across 111 boreal headwater streams in Finland. Functional biodiversity encompassed functional richness (FR , the number of functional groups derived from a combination of functional feeding groups and habit trait groups), FD , the number of functional groups and division of individuals among these groups, and functional evenness (FE , the division of individuals among functional groups). Furthermore, functional structure (FS) comprised the composition and abundance of functional groups at each site. 3. FR increased with increasing pH, with additional variation related to moss cover, total nitrogen, water colour and substratum particle size. FD similarly increased with increasing pH and decreased with increasing canopy cover. FE decreased with increasing canopy cover and water colour. Significant variation in FS was attributable to pH, stream width, moss cover, substratum particle size, nitrogen, water colour with the dominant pattern in FS being related to the increase of shredder-sprawlers and the decrease of scraper-swimmers in acidic conditions. 4. In regression analysis and redundancy analysis, variation in functional biodiversity was not only related to local environmental factors, but a considerable proportion of variability was also attributable to spatial patterning of environmental variables and pure spatial gradients. For FR, 23.4% was related to pure environmental effects, 15.0% to shared environmental and spatial effects and 8.0% to spatial trends. For FD, 13.8% was attributable to environmental effects, 15.2% to shared environmental and spatial effects and 5% to spatial trends. For FE, 9.0% was related to environmental variables, 12.7% to shared effects of environmental and spatial variables and 4.5% to spatial variables. For FS, 13.5% was related to environmental effects, 16.9% to shared environmental and spatial effects and 15.4% to spatial trends. 5. Given that functional biodiversity should portray variability in ecosystem functioning, one might expect to find functionally rather differing ecosystems at the opposite ends of major environmental gradients (e.g. acidity, stream size). However, the degree to which variation in the functional biodiversity of stream macroinvertebrates truly portrays variability in ecosystem functioning is difficult to judge because species traits, such as feeding roles and habit traits, are themselves strongly affected by the habitat template. 6. If functional characteristics show strong responses to natural environmental gradients, they also are likely to do so to anthropogenic environmental changes, including changes in habitat structure, organic inputs and acidifying elements. However, given the considerable degree of spatial structure in functional biodiversity, one should not expect that only the local environment and anthropogenic changes therein are responsible for this variability. Rather, the spatial context, as well as natural variability along environmental gradients, should also be explicitly considered in applied research. [source]

Relative influence of variables at multiple spatial scales on stream macroinvertebrates in the Northern Lakes and Forest ecoregion, U.S.A.

Brian M. Weigel
Summary 1We used 94 sites within the Northern Lakes and Forests ecoregion spanning Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan to identify environmental variables at the catchment, reach and riparian scales that influence stream macroinvertebrates. Redundancy analyses (RDA) found significantly influential variables within each scale and compared their relative importance in structuring macroinvertebrate assemblages. 2Environmental variables included landcover, geology and groundwater delivery estimates at the catchment scale, water chemistry, channel morphology and stream habitat at the reach scale, and landcover influences at three distances perpendicular to the stream at the riparian scale. Macroinvertebrate responses were characterised with 22 assemblage attributes, and the relative abundance and presence/absence of 66 taxa. 3Each scale defined macroinvertebrates along an erosional to depositional gradient. Wisconsin's macroinvertebrate index of biotic integrity, Ephemeroptera,Plecoptera,Trichoptera taxa and erosional taxa corresponded with forest streams, whereas organic pollution tolerant, Chironomidae and depositional taxa corresponded with wetland streams. Reach scale analyses defined the gradient similarly as dissolved oxygen and wide, shallow channels (erosional) opposed instream macrophytes and pool habitats (depositional). Riparian forests within 30 m of the stream coincided with an erosional assemblage and biotic integrity. 4Next, we combined all significant environmental variables across scales to compare the relative influence of each spatial scale on macroinvertebrates. Partial RDA procedures described how much of the explained variance was attributable to each spatial scale and each interrelated scale combination. 5Our results appeared consistent with the concept of hierarchical functioning of scale in which large-scale variables restrict the potential for macroinvertebrate traits or taxa at smaller spatial scales. Catchment and reach variables were equally influential in defining assemblage attributes, whereas the reach scale was more influential in determining relative abundance and presence/absence. 6Ultimately, comprehending the relative influence of catchment and reach scale properties in structuring stream biota will assist prioritising the scale at which to rehabilitate, manage and derive policies for stream ecosystem integrity. [source]

The influence of scale and geography on relationships between stream community composition and landscape variables: description and prediction

Colin R. Townsend
SUMMARY 1.,We analysed an existing database of macroinvertebrates and fish in the context of a newly established geographical information system (GIS) of physical features to determine the relationships between stream community composition and physical factors measured at three landscape scales , catchment, reach and bedform. Both an exploratory (concordance analysis) and a predictive (ausrivas) approach were used. 2.,The environmental variables that most successfully accounted for variation in macroinvertebrate assemblages were mainly ,natural' and at the catchment-scale (relief ratio, basin diameter, etc.) but the human-induced physical setting of percentage of pasture in the riparian zone was also influential. For fish, ,natural' variables were also dominant, but these were mostly at the bedform or reach scales and land use featured strongly. 3.,Geographic location accounted for some of the variation in invertebrate assemblages, partly because geography and influential conditions/resources are correlated but also because different species may have evolved in different places and have not colonised every ,ecologically appropriate' location. Geographic location was not influential in accounting for variation in assemblages of strongly flying invertebrates, supporting the hypothesis that organisms having high dispersal potential can be expected to break down geographic barriers more readily than those with poor dispersal powers. In accord with what is known about the local evolution and restricted distributions of native and exotic species, history (reflected in geography) appeared to account for some variation in fish assemblages. 4.,Given their different mathematical bases, the fact that exploratory and predictive analyses yielded similar results provides added confidence to our conclusions. [source]

Response of the flora and macroinvertebrate fauna of a chalk stream site to changes in management

J. F. Wright
SUMMARY 1. Temporal changes in a series of habitats and their macroinvertebrate assemblages were examined on a 50-m section of a chalk stream in Berkshire, England between June 1975,79 and June 1997,2001. 2. The site was part of a trout fishery in 1975,79, when river management included instream weed cutting together with control of bankside trees and riparian vegetation. Management ceased in the 1980s and by 1997,2001, the site was heavily shaded by trees and riparian vegetation. 3. The mean area of instream macrophytes decreased by 50% between the first and second sampling period. In contrast, gravel and silt increased and invading marginal vegetation formed a new habitat. 4. Changes in macroinvertebrate family richness between sampling periods were scale dependant. Although there were, on average, significantly more families in individual replicates in 1975,79 than in 1997,2001, total family richness for the site in each year did not differ significantly between sampling periods. 5. Sixty families of macroinvertebrates were recorded during the study, 50 in both sampling periods, 53 in 1975,79 and 57 in 1997,2001. This small increase in site family richness may be due to the invading marginal plants. 6. Total macroinvertebrate abundance was significantly lower in the second sampling period. A major drought in 1976 resulted in significantly higher densities of macroinvertebrates, partly through the exploitation of epiphytic diatoms by chironomid larvae. A drought in 1997 failed to elicit a similar response because of the limited macrophytes and diatoms under heavy shading by trees and marginal vegetation. 7. Significant increases in important shredders and decreases in some scrapers between the early and later sampling years largely reflected changes in available food resources. 8. Whereas macroinvertebrate family richness has been conserved under the recent ,no management' regime, the site is now less attractive as a fishery because of poor access and lower densities of some macroinvertebrates taken by brown trout. [source]

An Evaluation of Qualitative Indexes of Physical Habitat Applied to Agricultural Streams in Ten U.S. States,

Robert M. Hughes
Hughes, Robert M., Alan T. Herlihy, and Philip R. Kaufmann, 2010. An Evaluation of Qualitative Indexes of Physical Habitat Applied to Agricultural Streams in Ten U.S. States. Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA) 46(4): 792-806. DOI: 10.1111/j.1752-1688.2010.00455.x Abstract:, Assessment of stream physical habitat condition is important for evaluating stream quality globally. However, the diversity of metrics and methods for assessing physical habitat condition confounds comparisons among practitioners. We surveyed 51 previously sampled stream sites (0.0-6.3 m wide) located in regions of row-crop agriculture in Oregon, California, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West Virginia to evaluate the comparability of four indexes of physical habitat condition relative to each other. We also compared the indexes to previously calculated indexes of fish and macroinvertebrate condition. The physical habitat indexes included the Stream Visual Assessment Protocol Version 2 of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the qualitative habitat evaluation index of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the rapid bioassessment protocol of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), and a qualitative physical habitat index based on USEPA quantitative physical habitat measurements. All four indexes were highly correlated with each other, but low-to-moderately correlated with biotic index scores for fish and macroinvertebrate assemblages. Moderately high correlations occurred between some macroinvertebrate biotic index scores and quantitative metrics. We conclude that additional research is needed to increase the predictive and diagnostic capabilities of qualitative physical habitat indexes. [source]


Lizhu Wang
ABSTRACT: We analyzed data from riffle and snag habitats for 39 small cold water streams with different levels of watershed urbanization in Wisconsin and Minnesota to evaluate the influences of urban land use and instream habitat on macroinvertebrate communities. Multivariate analysis indicated that stream temperature and amount of urban land use in the watersheds were the most influential factors determining macroinvertebrate assemblages. The amount of watershed urbanization was nonlinearly and negatively correlated with percentages of Ephemeroptera-Plecoptera-Trichoptera (EPT) abundance, EPT taxa, filterers, and scrapers and positively correlated with Hilsenhoff biotic index. High quality macroinvertebrate index values were possible if effective imperviousness was less than 7 percent of the watershed area. Beyond this level of imperviousness, index values tended to be consistently poor. Land uses in the riparian area were equal or more influential relative to land use elsewhere in the watershed, although riparian area consisted of only a small portion of the entire watershed area. Our study implies that it is extremely important to restrict watershed impervious land use and protect stream riparian areas for reducing human degradation on stream quality in low level urbanizing watersheds. Stream temperature may be one of the major factors through which human activities degrade cold-water streams, and management efforts that can maintain a natural thermal regime will help preserve stream quality. [source]

Effectiveness of the river environment classification in the Auckland Region

Liza Inglis
Abstract:, The River Environment Classification (REC) provides a GIS-based tool to differentiate between biophysical attributes of river systems. This study tests the effectiveness of the REC as a tool to differentiate physical habitat and macroinvertebrate assemblages between four classes of stream in the Auckland region. Results indicate significant within-class variability in physical habitat and macroinvertebrate assemblages, with considerable overlap among the four classes. Biophysically meaningful stream classes cannot be identified from GIS-derived data applied in this research. Field analyses of physical habitat (i.e. geomorphic river condition) are required as a supplementary tool to interpret ecological relationships for differing stream types. [source]

Quantifying habitat structure: surface convolution and living space for species in complex environments

OIKOS, Issue 12 2008
D. M. Warfe
Habitat complexity is often used to explain the distribution of species in environments, yet the ability to predict outcomes of structural differences between habitats remains elusive. This stems from the difficulty and lack of consistency in measuring and quantifying habitat structure, making comparison between different habitats and systems problematic. For any measure of habitat structure to be useful it needs to be applicable to a range of habitats and have relevance to their associated fauna. We measured three differently-shaped macrophyte analogues with nine indices of habitat structure to determine which would best distinguish between their shape and relate to the abundance and rarefied species richness of their associated macroinvertebrate assemblages. These indices included the physical, whole-plant attributes of surface area (SA) and plant volume (PV), the interstitial space attributes of average space size and frequency (ISI), average refuge space from predation (Sp/Pr), and total refuge space (FFV), and the degree of surface convolution at a range of scales (i.e. the fractal dimension at four spatial scales: 7.5×, 5×, 2.5× and 1× magnification). We found a high degree of inter-correlation between the structural indices such that they could be organised into two suites: one group describing interstitial space and surface convolution at coarse scales, the other describing whole-plant attributes and surface convolution at fine scales. Two of these indices fell into both suites: the average refuge space from predation (Sp/Pr) and the fractal dimension at 5× magnification. These two measures were also strongly related to macroinvertebrate abundance and rarefied species richness, which points to their usefulness in quantifying habitat structure and illustrates that habitat structure depends not just on shape, but on the space associated with shape. [source]

Habitat selection and sampling design for ecological assessment of heterogeneous ponds using macroinvertebrates

Cristina Trigal-Domínguez
Abstract 1.Habitat heterogeneity has many implications in ecological assessment studies. On one hand it provides varying niches for organisms, increasing diversity. On the other hand, the inherent spatial variability of structurally complex systems may overlap with ecological condition making it difficult to disentangle the effects of perturbation. This study investigated the combined and single effects of habitat and pond condition on the macroinvertebrate assemblages of 35 ponds located in north-west Spain and spanning a range of water quality and habitat characteristics. 2.Macroinvertebrate communities and several environmental variables were sampled in the summer of 2004 or 2003. Samples were collected from four dominant habitats (vegetated shores, shores without vegetation, submerged vegetation, bare sediments) following a time-limited sampling. Non-metric multidimensional scaling and two-way crossed ANOSIM were used to investigate the taxonomic and functional differences in macroinvertebrate assemblage structure among habitats (four types) and pond conditions (optimal, good, moderate, poor, very poor). To investigate the individual and combined effects of pond condition and habitat on several diversity measures GLM models were used. In addition, the accuracy of two sampling designs , stratified and multihabitat , was compared using the CVs of seven macroinvertebrate attributes. 3.Results showed that macroinvertebrate communities differed significantly, albeit weakly, among habitat types and pond condition categories. In particular, the abundance of several Chironomidae genera, rarefied richness and Shannon index decreased both in perturbed systems and bare sediments, whereas no marked differences occurred between shores and submerged vegetation. 4.We suggest that a multihabitat approach together with the use of community attributes not (or slightly) affected by habitat type will provide more comparable results across ponds than a stratified approach or observation of the whole community, especially in ponds where degradation leads to habitat loss.Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Effects of Tea Plantations on Stream Invertebrates in a Global Biodiversity Hotspot in Africa

BIOTROPICA, Issue 4 2009
Olly van Biervliet
ABSTRACT Tropical stream ecosystems in montane forest watersheds are important centers of endemism and diversity and provide essential ecosystem services. These habitats are subject to a variety of stressors, including the conversion of adjacent terrestrial habitats from forest to agriculture, but the impacts of these anthropogenic effects are largely unknown because of the paucity of studies in these systems. In montane habitats in the wet tropics, large-scale cultivation of tea is common and can represent an important source of income at local and national scales. However, little is known about how tea cultivation impacts adjacent stream ecosystems. In this study, we examine stream macroinvertebrate assemblages in a biodiversity hotspot the East Usambara Mountains, Tanzania. Specifically, we compare diversity of macroinvertebrate assemblages found on cobbles in stream riffles in watersheds dominated by forest with those surrounded by tea cultivation. We found that streams surrounded by tea were characterized by significantly lower dissolved oxygen and had lower total estimated species richness and number of families. Furthermore, the richness of invertebrate taxa known to be sensitive to anthropogenic disturbance were substantially reduced in tea streams and general assemblage-level analysis shows significant differences in the composition of macroinvertebrate assemblages between tea and forested streams. Our results suggest that tea cultivation may reduce stream habitat quality and biodiversity in the East Usambaras. Further research is needed to evaluate the effects of tea cultivation on streams over longer times scales and to address methods for minimizing negative effects of agriculture on montane stream communities. [source]