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Characterization of macroinvertebrate communities in the hyporheic zone of river ecosystems reflects the pump-sampling technique used

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posted on 2016-12-09, 16:27 authored by Rachel Stubbington, Marie-Jose Dole-Olivier, Diana M. Galassi, John-Paul Hogan, Paul WoodPaul Wood
The hyporheic zone of river ecosystems provides a habitat for a diverse macroinvertebrate community that makes a vital contribution to ecosystem functioning and biodiversity. However, effective methods for sampling this community have proved difficult to establish, due to the inaccessibility of subsurface sediments. The aim of this study was to compare the two most common semi-quantitative macroinvertebrate pump-sampling techniques: Bou-Rouch and vacuum-pump sampling. We used both techniques to collect replicate samples in three contrasting temperate-zone streams, in each of two biogeographical regions (Atlantic region, central England, UK; Continental region, southeast France). Results were typically consistent across streams in both regions: Bou-Rouch samples provided significantly higher estimates of taxa richness, macroinvertebrate abundance, and the abundance of all UK and eight of 10 French common taxa. Seven and nine taxa which were rare in Bou-Rouch samples were absent from vacuum-pump samples in the UK and France, respectively; no taxon was repeatedly sampled exclusively by the vacuum pump. Rarefaction curves (rescaled to the number of incidences) and non-parametric richness estimators indicated no significant difference in richness between techniques, highlighting the capture of more individuals as crucial to Bou-Rouch sampling performance. Compared to assemblages in replicate vacuum-pump samples, multivariate analyses indicated greater distinction among Bou-Rouch assemblages from different streams, as well as significantly greater consistency in assemblage composition among replicate Bou-Rouch samples collected in one stream. We recommend Bou-Rouch sampling for most study types, including rapid biomonitoring surveys and studies requiring acquisition of comprehensive taxon lists that include rare taxa. Despite collecting fewer macroinvertebrates, vacuum-pump sampling remains an important option for inexpensive and rapid sample collection.


UK data collection was supported by a Nottingham Trent University (NTU; http://www.ntu. ac.uk/) 'Scholarship Project for Undergraduate Researchers' award to RS and a NTU Biosciences Undergraduate Researcher award to RS. France data collection was financially supported by the ZABR (Zone Atelier Bassin du Rhone), a group managing Long Term Ecological Research sites on the Rhone River(http://www.graie.org/zabr). Ben Stephens also contributed to UK data collection (field sampling and sample processing), as recipient of the NTU Biosciences Undergraduate Researcher bursary.



  • Social Sciences


  • Geography and Environment

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STUBBINGTON, R. ... et al, 2016. Characterization of macroinvertebrate communities in the hyporheic zone of river ecosystems reflects the pump-sampling technique used. PLoS ONE, 11 (10):e0164372.


Public Library of Science © Stubbington et al.


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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/ by/4.0/

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This is an Open Access Article. It is published by Public Library of Science under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY). Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/




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