The Plant Flow Index: a new method to assess the hydroecological condition of temporary rivers and streams

Westwood, C.G., England, J., Hayes, C., Johns, T. and Stubbington, R. ORCID: 0000-0001-8475-5109, 2021. The Plant Flow Index: a new method to assess the hydroecological condition of temporary rivers and streams. Ecological Indicators, 120: 106964. ISSN 1470-160X

[img] Text
1369655_Stubbington3.pdf - Post-print
Full-text access embargoed until 25 September 2022.

Download (800kB)

Abstract

Temporary streams are widespread in global river networks, and hydroecological tools are needed to assess biotic responses to changes in environmental conditions between wet and dry states. Plant communities can be abundant and diverse in temporary streams, and vary in their tolerance of changing water availability and associated habitat conditions, but globally, no indices have been developed to document community-level responses to intermittence. We present the first index developed to assess plant assemblage responses to changing habitat conditions in temporary stream channels: the Plant Flow Index (PFI). Using a regional 22-year dataset from lowland groundwater-fed headwater streams in the UK, we establish relationships between the occurrence and abundance of 34 common aquatic, semi-aquatic and terrestrial taxa and the proportion of time the channel was dry within the antecedent 12 months. Species/taxon-specific responses to channel drying were weighted and used to calculate a single score representing each community. We compare the PFI to three other plant assessment methods, which demonstrates its greater ability to reflect the effects of intermittent flow and specifically drying events. The PFI represents a flexible index that can be modified to include additional and/or different taxa and their responses to intermittence, allowing its application across regions and river types with contrasting environmental characteristics and intermittence regimes. As temporary streams increase in both space and time, this index represents a valuable tool to track ecological responses to intermittence at both broad and fine spatial and temporal scales.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Ecological Indicators
Creators: Westwood, C.G., England, J., Hayes, C., Johns, T. and Stubbington, R.
Publisher: Elsevier
Date: January 2021
Volume: 120
ISSN: 1470-160X
Identifiers:
NumberType
10.1016/j.ecolind.2020.106964DOI
S1470160X20309031Publisher Item Identifier
1369655Other
Divisions: Schools > School of Science and Technology
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 28 Sep 2020 12:43
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2020 07:30
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/40980

Actions (login required)

Edit View Edit View

Views

Views per month over past year

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year