Structural and functional responses of macroinvertebrate assemblages to long‐term flow variability at perennial and nonperennial sites

Mathers, K.L., Stubbington, R. ORCID: 0000-0001-8475-5109, Leeming, D., Westwood, C. and England, J., 2019. Structural and functional responses of macroinvertebrate assemblages to long‐term flow variability at perennial and nonperennial sites. Ecohydrology, 12 (6): e2112. ISSN 1936-0584

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Temporary streams constitute a significant proportion of rivers globally and are common in wet, cool, temperate regions. These heterogeneous ecosystems harbour high biodiversity associated with the dynamic turnover of taxa. Despite flow permanence being widely recognised as an important environmental control, few studies have characterised biotic responses to long‐term hydrological variability in temporary streams. We examined taxonomic and functional macroinvertebrate communities of perennial and nonperennial river reaches over a 26‐year period. Flow permanence resulted in spatial variation in taxonomic and functional macroinvertebrate communities. Nonperennial river reaches, which were characterised by dynamic habitat provision (lotic, lentic, and dry states) over the study period, supported more heterogeneous communities than perennial river reaches. Hydrological variables, in particular wetted width, water depth, and zero‐flow states, were instrumental in structuring taxonomic and functional communities, although the importance of substrate conditions increased in autumn. Hydrological conditions resulted in separation of perennial and nonperennial taxonomic communities regardless of season, whereas functional communities differed only in spring. Our results emphasise that understanding of community responses to hydrological variability is enhanced by analyses that concurrently explore taxonomic and functional responses to long‐term intraannual and interannual hydrological variability. Moreover, functional responses represent a robust method to test ecological responses to hydrological drivers. Further research that builds on our work is needed to inform the protection of both perennial and nonperennial streams as they adapt to ongoing environmental change.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Ecohydrology
Creators: Mathers, K.L., Stubbington, R., Leeming, D., Westwood, C. and England, J.
Publisher: Wiley
Date: September 2019
Volume: 12
Number: 6
ISSN: 1936-0584
Divisions: Schools > School of Science and Technology
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 07 Jan 2021 10:39
Last Modified: 31 May 2021 15:08

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