Flow permanence affects aquatic macroinvertebrate diversity and community structure in three headwater streams in a forested catchment

Amber Clarke, Ralph MAC NALLY, Nick Bond, P. Lake

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    27 Citations (Scopus)


    Drying can be a common disturbance affecting macroinvertebrate communities in headwater streams. Whether intermittent and ephemeral streams have a lower diversity and (or) unique assemblage structure relative to physically similar and nearby perennial streams is still debated. We investigated changes in the diversity and assemblage composition of aquatic macroinvertebrates occupying debris dams in three headwater streams with a gradient of flow permanence (perennial, intermittent, and ephemeral) during a dry period in the austral summer of 2007 and a wet period in the spring of 2008. In the dry period, mean taxon richness and abundance in debris dams were lower in the intermittent and ephemeral streams than in the perennial stream, and the length of time without connected surface flow appeared to produce different patterns in community composition. However, during the wet period, mean taxon richness, abundance, and community composition of macroinvertebrates were very similar among the three streams. Hierarchical Bayesian modeling showed evidence for a strong effect of permanence on taxon richness, abundance, and evenness within debris dams. Taxa from the perennial stream were extremely efficient at colonizing seasonally dry nearby streams. Differences in assemblage structure between these temporary and permanent headwater streams may only arise seasonally and also appear related to flow permanence.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1649-1657
    Number of pages9
    JournalCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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