Living on the edge: predicting invertebrate richness and rarity in disturbance‐prone aquatic–terrestrial ecosystems

Gething, K.J. ORCID: 0000-0002-4997-0249, Hayes, C. ORCID: 0000-0002-2357-1346, Webb, J.R., Sykes, T., England, J. and Stubbington, R. ORCID: 0000-0001-8475-5109, 2022. Living on the edge: predicting invertebrate richness and rarity in disturbance‐prone aquatic–terrestrial ecosystems. Ecological Solutions and Evidence, 3 (4): e12196. ISSN 2688-8319

1627988_Gething.pdf - Published version

Download (544kB) | Preview


Temporal fluctuations in cause the spatial extent of wet and dry habitats to vary in aquatic–terrestrial riverine ecosystems, complicating their biomonitoring. As such, biomonitoring efforts may fail to characterize the species that inhabit such habitats, hampering assessments of their biodiversity and implementation of evidence-informed management strategies.

Relationships between the dynamic characteristics of aquatic–terrestrial habitats and their communities are well known. Thus, habitat characteristics may enable estimation of faunal assemblage characteristics such as taxonomic richness, regardless of in-channel water levels.

We investigated whether indicators summarizing habitat survey data can predict two metrics representing terrestrial invertebrate assemblages (e.g. taxa richness) in two aquatic–terrestrial habitats: exposed riverine sediments and dry temporary streams. We also compared the performance of unimetric and multimetric habitat indicators in making predictions.

In exposed riverine sediments, >88% of predictions were correlated with observed taxa richness and an index of conservation status. Values predicted by exposed riverine sediment samples were correlated with those observed in temporary stream channels with comparable riparian (i.e. largely agricultural) land use, but not those observed in channels with contrasting (i.e. more urban) land use.

Unimetric habitat indicators performed similarly to more complex multimetric indicators, with each explaining ≤6% of the variability in taxa richness and the index of conservation status. The different spatial scales at which invertebrates respond to habitat conditions and at which indicators record habitat conditions, and a more comprehensive training dataset that incorporates a full range of habitat conditions (i.e. land use), may improve future predictions.

We demonstrate that invertebrate assemblage characteristics can be predicted regardless of in-channel water levels. Agreement between exposed riverine sediment predictions and temporary stream observations suggests that these predictions are transferable among a range of aquatic–terrestrial habitat types, and could thus be widely applied to aid conservation of riverine biodiversity in dynamic aquatic–terrestrial ecosystems.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Ecological Solutions and Evidence
Creators: Gething, K.J., Hayes, C., Webb, J.R., Sykes, T., England, J. and Stubbington, R.
Publisher: Wiley
Date: October 2022
Volume: 3
Number: 4
ISSN: 2688-8319
Rights: © 2022 the authors. Ecological Solutions and Evidence published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Ecological Society. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Divisions: Schools > School of Science and Technology
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 14 Dec 2022 16:02
Last Modified: 14 Dec 2022 16:02

Actions (login required)

Edit View Edit View


Views per month over past year


Downloads per month over past year