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Ecological effects of a supra-seasonal drought on macroinvertebrate communities differ between near-perennial and ephemeral river reaches

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journal contribution
posted on 04.09.2019, 13:58 by MJ Hill, KL Mathers, S Little, T Worrall, J Gunn, Paul Wood
The duration, intensity and frequency of hydrological droughts are predicted to increase significantly over the 21st century globally, threatening the long-term stability of lotic communities. In this paper we examine the recovery and recolonization of macroinvertebrate taxa in ephemeral and near perennial reaches of the River Lathkill (UK) after a supra-seasonal drought event. Following flow resumption, species accumulation (recolonization) occurred rapidly over a 4-month period, with a steady increase observed thereafter. Taxonomic richness was significantly higher in the section with near perennial flow after the first month of the study than the naturally ephemeral reach. Serial correlation was observed in the near perennial section but not in the upstream ephemeral reach. Serial correlation in the near perennial section may reflect: (1) the ongoing process of recovery or (2) the macroinvertebrate community following a new ecological trajectory. Our results suggest that supra-seasonal droughts may cause initial reductions in lotic diversity during stream desiccation events but may re-set ecological succession and/or temporarily provide new ecological niches, thereby supporting increased taxonomic diversity when the full range of hydrological conditions are considered. Quantifying the recovery of ecological communities following supra-seasonal drought can provide information to help develop ecologically effective conservation and management strategies.

Funding

Natural England

History

School

  • Social Sciences

Department

  • Geography and Environment

Published in

Aquatic Sciences

Volume

81

Publisher

Springer

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Rights holder

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG

Publisher statement

This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Aquatic Sciences. The final authenticated version is available online at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00027-019-0659-7.

Acceptance date

24/07/2019

Publication date

2019-07-27

Copyright date

2019

ISSN

1015-1621

eISSN

1420-9055

Language

en

Depositor

Prof Paul Wood

Article number

62

Exports

Loughborough Publications

Categories

Exports