Original paper

Macroinvertebrate community structure in relation to measures of lotic habitat heterogeneity

Minshall, G. Wayne; Robinson, Christopher T.

Archiv für Hydrobiologie Volume 141 Number 2 (1998), p. 129 - 151

52 references

published: Feb 19, 1998

DOI: 10.1127/archiv-hydrobiol/141/1998/129

BibTeX file

ArtNo. ESP141014102006, Price: 29.00 €

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We examined the relationship between habitat heterogeneity and benthic macroinvertebrate assemblages in thirty-two 2nd to 6th order wilderness streams in central Idaho. Twenty-one environmental measures were evaluated for each stream with their heterogeneity expressed in terms of coefficients of variation (CV's). Although the annual range in water temperature was greater in the larger (5th and 6th order) streams, most other habitat measures showed greater variation among smaller streams (2nd order) than larger streams. Mean habitat-CV's also were about 20 % greater for smaller (2nd order) than larger (5th and 6th order) streams, suggesting a homogenizing influence of stream size on habitat heterogeneity. Multivariate analyses of the habitat measures clearly separated 5th and 6th order streams from ≤ 4th order streams, further indicating major environmental differences between larger and smaller stream systems. Multiple regression and canonical correspondence analysis revealed that some biotic properties, e.g. % shredders, were associated with stream size, reflecting longitudinal changes in food resource availability or annual variation in temperature, while others, e.g. Shannon's diversity, were more dependent on measures of within-reach habitat heterogeneity.


heterogeneityfood resourceshreddersIdaho