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Distribution of macroinvertebrate communities across surface and groundwater habitats in response to hydrological variability

Durkota, JM; Wood, PJ; Johns, T; Thompson, JR; Flower, RJ; (2019) Distribution of macroinvertebrate communities across surface and groundwater habitats in response to hydrological variability. Fundamental and Applied Limnology , 193 (1) pp. 79-92. 10.1127/fal/2019/1156. Green open access

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Abstract

Macroinvertebrate communities are strongly influenced by hydrological variability in surface waters. However, the response of these communities in corresponding groundwater-dependent habitats is not well understood. This study characterised the macroinvertebrate fauna and physicochemical characteristics of a chalk aquifer and its rivers in southern England. Over one year, samples were collected from five paired benthic-hyporheic sites located in perennial or temporary rivers, and a further seven phreatic sites in the surrounding aquifer. The study was preceded by a period of below average rainfall, providing an opportunity to assess the response of macro-invertebrate communities to unseasonal declines in river discharge and groundwater levels. Benthic, hyporheic and phreatic habitats each supported a distinct macroinvertebrate community, with the hyporheic habitat support- ing both epigean taxa and stygofauna. As discharge declined, the composition of these communities changed. In particular, the abundance of the epigean amphipod Gammarus pulex was higher in hyporheic than benthic habitats during periods of low river discharge, suggesting potential refuge-seeking behaviour. Similarly, fluctuations in the abundance and distribution of two stygofauna, Crangonyx subterraneus and Niphargus fontanus, coincided with marked changes in groundwater levels, suggesting that the contraction of available habitat and changes in connectivity also influenced the phreatic community. The variable distribution of macroinvertebrates between these habitats, especially in response to hydrological variability, suggests a dynamic connection between the river and its aquifer. This connection is an important consideration for the assessment and conservation management of both surface and groundwater communities and may help underpin integrated, catchment-based management, especially in river systems with temporary reaches.

Type: Article
Title: Distribution of macroinvertebrate communities across surface and groundwater habitats in response to hydrological variability
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1127/fal/2019/1156
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1127/fal/2019/1156
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Groundwater Ecology, Benthic, Hyporheic, Macroinvertebrate, Flow Permanence, Drought
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10085144
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