Using a geospatial model to relate fluvial geomorphology to macroinvertebrate habitat in a Prairie river-Part 1: Genus-level relationships with geomorphic typologies

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Abstract

Modern river ecosystems undergo constant stress from disturbances such as bank stabilization, channelization, dams, and municipal, agricultural, and industrial water use. As these anthropogenic water requirements persist, more efficient methods of characterizing river reaches are essential. Benthic macroinvertebrates are helpful when evaluating fluvial health, because they are often the first group to react to contaminants that can then be transferred through them to other trophic levels. Hence, the purpose of this research is to use a geospatial model to differentiate instream macroinvertebrate habitats, and determine if the model is a viable method for stream evaluation. Through the use of ArcGIS and digital elevation models, the fluvial geomorphology of the Qu'Appelle River in Saskatchewan (SK) was assessed. Four geomorphological characteristics of the river were isolated (sinuosity, slope, fractal dimension, and stream width) and clustered through Principle Component Analysis (PCA), yielding sets of river reaches with similar geomorphological characteristics, called typologies. These typologies were mapped to form a geospatial model of the river. Macroinvertebrate data were aligned to the locations of the typologies, revealing several relationships with the fluvial geomorphology. A Kruskal-Wallis analysis and post hoc pairwise multiple comparisons were completed with the macroinvertebrate data to pinpoint significant genera, as related to the geospatial model.

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Meissner, A. G. N., Carr, M. K., Phillips, I. D., & Lindenschmidt, K. E. (2016). Using a geospatial model to relate fluvial geomorphology to macroinvertebrate habitat in a Prairie river-Part 1: Genus-level relationships with geomorphic typologies. Water (Switzerland), 8(2). https://doi.org/10.3390/w8020042

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