Decay State and Inundation History Control Assemblage Structure of Log-Dwelling Invertebrates in Floodplain Forests

Andrea Ballinger, Ralph MAC NALLY, P. Lake

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    11 Citations (Scopus)


    Fallen timber (logs, large boughs) is recognized as having high ecological significance on forest floors. In floodplain forests, fallen timber potentially has even higher value for supporting biodiversity than upland forests because distinct faunal elements use the timber in the flooded and unflooded conditions. Invertebrates were sampled in logs of the river red gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis Dehnh.) that had been inundated 1 year earlier and compared with invertebrates in logs that had not been inundated for many years. The invertebrate fauna in river red gum logs was relatively depauperate, probably reflecting the variable, sub-humid conditions on the floodplain. The abundance and taxon richness of invertebrates was highest in logs with greater structural complexity and heterogeneity due to extensive decay. Recent inundation slightly reduced taxon richness. The succession of log-dwelling invertebrates was tracked though transitions between terrestrial fauna and aquatic fauna in a spring/summer flood cycle. Transition between the two faunae was rapid. Logs were colonized by aquatic invertebrates within 2 weeks of immersion by floodwaters and recolonized by terrestrial invertebrates within 4 weeks of emersion. This faunal dynamism highlights the need to consider the entire flood cycle in decisions about the management of fallen timber on floodplains for biodiversity.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)207-219
    Number of pages13
    JournalRiver Research and Applications
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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