Original paper

The influence of floods on benthic insect populations in a Swiss mountain stream and their strategies of damage prevention

Maier, K.-J.

Archiv für Hydrobiologie Volume 150 Number 2 (2001), p. 227 - 247

54 references

published: Jan 11, 2001

DOI: 10.1127/archiv-hydrobiol/150/2001/227

BibTeX file

ArtNo. ESP141015002003, Price: 29.00 €

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This paper describes flood induced changes of stream bed morphology and the effects of spates on the populations of dominant benthic insect taxa of a Swiss mountain stream (Kalte Sense, CH). The typical spates showed a steep increase of discharge, due to the topography of the catchment area. Within 6 hours the discharge may rise from 0.5 up to 20 m3/s or more. During the 475 day study 45 floods were recorded of which 10 had discharges ranging from 15 to 25 m3/s. The floods which exceeded 15 m3/s caused large scale bed sediment movements and severe reductions in macroinvertebrate abundances. The effects of four flood situations on five insect taxa (Heptageniidae, Baetidae, Leuctridae, Chironomidae, Simuliidae) were recorded and analysed. In general, young larvae were affected much more than the older stages. Therefore, the severity of the floods and the amount of bed sediment transport correlated strongest with the reduction in abundance of young larvae. Individual severe flood events reduced the insect fauna to 60 % or even 27 % of the preflood value, a series of severe floods in November 1992 resulted in a reduction to 8 %. However, during the period from July to December, the insect populations usually recovered within 3 weeks and losses were compensated by young larvae which had just hatched.


Mountain streamfloodaquatic insectsSwitzerland