An invertebrate-based index to characterize ecological responses to flow intermittence in rivers

England, J., Chadd, R., Dunbar, M.J., Sarremejane, R., Stubbington, R. ORCID: 0000-0001-8475-5109, Westwood, C.G. and Leeming, D., 2019. An invertebrate-based index to characterize ecological responses to flow intermittence in rivers. Fundamental and Applied Limnology, 193 (1), pp. 93-117. ISSN 1863-9135

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Intermittent streams occur across global regions, and are increasingly recognized to support high bio-diversity and perform important ecological roles within catchments. New tools are needed to better characterize biotic responses to the full spectrum of environmental conditions that occur in these dynamic systems, because the biological indices developed to assess ecological responses to flow in perennial rivers may be inaccurate in intermittent streams. We present the Monitoring Intermittent Streams index (MIS-index), a new biological index that can be used to assess invertebrate responses to environmental changes spanning flowing, ponded and drying states. As well as fully aquatic taxa, the index includes semi-aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates from marginal habitats, which are collected during the standard surveys used by regulatory agencies to assess ecological quality. We explore how including these taxa within an index informs our understanding of aquatic–terrestrial invertebrate community responses to changing habitat composition, as intermittent streams transition from lotic to lentic then drier conditions. We explain the development of the MIS-index and explore its performance compared with other indices. We suggest index combinations that can be used to detect different aspects of ecological responses to variation in instream conditions, and highlight the advantages of including semi-aquatic and terrestrial taxa. We call for researchers to test the performance of the MIS-index across a wide range of intermittent stream types, to enable its development into an internationally applicable tool for the holistic assessment of ecological responses to changing hydrological conditions including drying.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Fundamental and Applied Limnology
Creators: England, J., Chadd, R., Dunbar, M.J., Sarremejane, R., Stubbington, R., Westwood, C.G. and Leeming, D.
Publisher: Schweizerbart
Date: September 2019
Volume: 193
Number: 1
ISSN: 1863-9135
Rights: © 2019 the authors. This article is Open Access under the terms of the Creative Commons CC BY licence.
Divisions: Schools > School of Science and Technology
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 08 Oct 2019 15:47
Last Modified: 07 Jan 2021 14:31

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