Influence of flow permanence on headwater macroinvertebrate communities in a Cumberland Plateau watershed, USA

  • Grubbs S
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Abstract

Forested headwater systems provide critical habitat needs for diverse macroinvertebrate faunas globally. This study compared macroinvertebrate community structure between ten temporary and perennial stream channels in a Cumberland Plateau (USA) watershed. Macroinvertebrates were sampled in winter and spring over a 2-year period. Several macroinvertebrate taxa displayed distinct abundance patterns with either increasing or decreasing stream permanence. There were no individual taxa, however, that was common or abundant in one flow regime yet absent in the other. Of the 108 taxa totally collected, only nine and eight were not obtained from the temporary and perennial channels, respectively. There were several functional differences revealed between flow regimes, namely higher densities in the perennial channels for scrapers and filtering-collectors and five of six richness variables except shredders. Overall, this study revealed taxonomic similarity of macroinvertebrate assemblages between temporary and perennial channels but also subtle downstream functional changes that are typical of forested headwater systems. This implies that the longitudinal hydrologic gradient was relatively shallow and that most taxa persist across the flow regime.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Headwater
  • Macroinvertebrate
  • Perennial
  • Stream
  • Temporary

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Authors

  • Scott A. Grubbs

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