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Supplementary Information Files for: Macroinvertebrate and diatom community responses to thermal alterations below water supply reservoirs

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posted on 18.01.2022, 11:45 by Henk Krajenbrink, James C. White, Michael J. Dunbar, Paul WoodPaul Wood
Supplementary Information Files for: Macroinvertebrate and diatom community responses to thermal alterations below water supply reservoirs
River impoundments have transformed river ecosystems globally due to the modification of various abiotic and biotic factors. This study provides rare evidence quantifying how water supply reservoirs alter water temperature regimes and its effects on macroinvertebrate and diatom communities over a 4-year period. We obtained near-continuous water temperature measurements upstream and downstream of three reservoirs and analysed thermal variables in association with macroinvertebrate and diatom community indices (including taxonomic richness, proportion of Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera and Trichoptera taxa [%EPT] and diatom ecological guilds). Reservoirs typically decreased downstream thermal variability, with reduced summer temperatures and increased winter temperatures, and a delayed timing of annual temperature extremes. Marked differences in thermal regime modifications between reservoirs were observed, including evidence of inter-annual variation associated with inter-basin water transfers downstream of one reservoir. Biomonitoring indices showed associations with thermal indices that differed between site types (regulated versus non-regulated) and seasons (spring vs. autumn). Various macroinvertebrate and diatom indices capturing community diversity elements and sensitivities to different environmental pressures were associated with higher maximum summer temperatures and lower minimum winter temperatures, suggesting ecological effects of reduced thermal variation downstream of reservoirs. Different ecological responses to thermal indices were observed between seasons, likely due to organism life-cycle effects and intra-annual thermal variations. Contrasting macroinvertebrate and diatom communities were observed between regulated and non-regulated sites, which may be driven by differences in the thermal regime and other abiotic factors at regulated sites, including nutrient, sediment and flow regimes. Long-term continuous water temperature monitoring of both multiple regulated and non-regulated river systems is necessary to better understand the environmental and ecological effects of river impoundments. Given the extent to which river impoundment has modified stream temperatures globally, the inclusion of thermal regime data in environmental flow studies alongside hydrological information may guide the implementation of mitigation measures on impounded waterbodies.


Central England NERC Training Alliance (CENTA)

Natural Environment Research Council

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