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Response to basal resources by stream macroinvertebrates is shaped by watershed urbanization, riparian canopy cover, and season
Alberts, J., K. Fritz, AND I. Buffam. Response to basal resources by stream macroinvertebrates is shaped by watershed urbanization, riparian canopy cover, and season. Freshwater Science. The Society for Freshwater Science, Springfield, IL, 37(3):640-652, (2018). https://doi.org/10.1086/699385
The purpose of this study is to determine how basal resources in stream ecosystems are shaped by the interaction of reach- and watershed-scale land cover and seasonal dynamics, and how aquatic macroinvertebrate community response to food resources is mediated by land cover and season. To meet this objective, we conducted a field study to assess benthic organic matter standing stocks and associated macroinvertebrate communities from paired open- and closed-canopy reaches within streams draining forested (reference) and urbanized watersheds in northern Kentucky. We anticipate that this work will inform the management of streams and associated riparian land to improve the protection and restoration in urban settings.
Riparian reforestation is a common restoration action in urban streams, but relatively little is known about the influence of local riparian vegetation in the face of watershed-scale urban land cover. Allochthonous organic matter and benthic algae are important basal energy resources in streams, but the roles of watershed urbanization vs near-stream vegetation in the availability of these resources are not well understood. Our goal was to understand how the interaction of land cover at 2 spatial scales (watershed vs reach) and seasonal dynamics shape basal resources and their effects on macroinvertebrate communities. We assessed relationships between seasonal patterns in standing stocks of particulate organic matter (POM) and benthic periphyton and macroinvertebrate community composition in open- and closed-canopy reaches of 4 urban and 4 reference streams in northern Kentucky, USA. POM standing stocks were not strongly influenced by watershed or riparian condition. Benthic algal biomass was greater in urban than in reference streams in all seasons and in open than in closed riparian canopies in summer when light levels are most affected by a deciduous canopy. Relationships between macroinvertebrate functional feeding group (FFG) biomass and their primary food resources were influenced by watershed land use and season, but riparian canopy effects were minor. The proportion of collectors varied by season, whereas the proportion of shredders was higher in reference than urban streams. Scraper biomass was influenced by benthic algal biomass and varied seasonally, whereas predator biomass was driven by prey-insect biomass. Periphyton density was affected by the interaction of watershed- and reach-scale land cover and was the only basal resource strongly related to consumer taxa. Watershed land use influences the stream ecosystem, but local riparian canopy may be important in limiting benthic algal accumulation.
Record Details:Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Organization:U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
NATIONAL EXPOSURE RESEARCH LABORATORY
SYSTEMS EXPOSURE DIVISION
ECOSYSTEM INTEGRITY BRANCH