Diversity of macrobenthos in lowland streams: ecological determinants and taxonomic specificity
AbstractThe present study contains the results of an investigation of the relationships between the environmental variables and the taxonomic diversity of common and important groups of benthic macrofauna: Chironomidae, Ephemeroptera, Odonata, Hirudinea and Gastropoda, collected from various types of bottom substrate in seven lowland streams of north-eastern Poland. Four metrics were used to express the diversity of the studied taxa in each sample as the examples of its four different aspects: species richness, rarity, Shannon-Weaver's diversity index and Pielou evenness index. The values of total species richness and Shannon-Weaver index were rarified by functional extrapolation with Michaelis-Menten asymptotic function chosen as a richness estimator. There are high differences in taxonomic diversity of benthic animals between the studied streams. The results of estimation of total species richness and total species diversity are mainly affected by the diversity of the taxon richest in species – larval Chironomidae and, to a lesser extent, Hirudinea. The total taxonomic diversity significantly correlates with the status of riparian vegetation and with the isolation of the sampling site, while the relationship with other environmental parameters, i.e. pollution and seasonality, is not significant. The diversity of Gastropoda and Hirudinea is significantly affected by pollution (positively), water depth and seasonality; whereas the diversity of Ephemeroptera and Chironomidae by the state of riparian vegetation, and that of Odonata by stream width and isolation of the site. The study presents and discusses reduced diversity of certain higher taxa as a result of a reduction in pollution loading to a stream with simultaneous unchanged values of the total diversity.
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Copyright (c) 2010 Paweł KOPERSKI
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