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Macroinvertebrate and organic matter export from headwater tributaries of a Central Appalachian stream
Pond, G., K. Fritz, AND B. Johnson. Macroinvertebrate and organic matter export from headwater tributaries of a Central Appalachian stream. HYDROBIOLOGIA. Springer, New York, NY, , 1-17, (2016).
This paper describes a study that assessed the role of various spatial and temporal factors governing the downstream transport of invertebrates and organic matter from intact, forested headwater streams. The findings of this paper improves the understanding of invertebrate and ecosystem dynamics in small streams and should enhance the interpretation of bioassessment data associated with regulatory permits and to inform future preservation and restoration strategies in the Central Appalachian region.
Headwater streams export organisms and other materials to their receiving streams and macroinvertebrate drift can shape colonization dynamics in downstream reaches while providing food for downstream consumers. Spring-time macroinvertebrate drift and organic matter export was measured monthly (February-May) near the mouths of 12 eastern Kentucky headwater streams. We compared drift density, biomass, richness, and composition across stream size, month, and reach scale factors. Aquatic invertebrate drift density was roughly 10 times greater than terrestrial organisms in most months; aquatic richness ranged from 18-45 taxa with EPT genera dominating the drift in terms of richness and abundance. Nonmetric multidimensional scaling revealed that aquatic assemblage composition clustered by month (axis 1) but stream size contributed to most of the variation along axis 2. Drift measures were correlated with catchment area and sample date, but less so with other local factors (e.g., substrate composition, channel slope, network proximity). Because drift is a dominant mode of lotic invertebrate transport and dispersal, these descriptive data could be used to inform future preservation and restoration strategies for the ecological recovery of disturbed headwater streams in the Central Appalachian region.