Knowl. Manag. Aquat. Ecosyst.
Number 423, 2022
Anthropogenic impact on freshwater habitats, communities and ecosystem functioning
|Number of page(s)||12|
|Published online||17 January 2022|
Considering mesohabitat scale in ecological impact assessment of sediment flushing
Department of Sciences and Technological Innovation, University of Piemonte Orientale, Viale Teresa Michel 11, 15121 Alessandria, Italy
2 ALPSTREAM – Alpine Stream Research Center, 12030 Ostana, Italy
3 Department of Science and High Technology, University of Insubria, Via GB Vico 46, 21100 Varese, Italy
4 Department of Theoretical and Applied Sciences, University of Insubria, Via JH Dunant 3, 21100 Varese, Italy
* Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 11 December 2021
Benthic macroinvertebrates respond to several factors characterizing the physical habitats, as water depth, current and streambed substrate. Thus, anthropogenic disturbances altering these factors may have different effects on benthos, also depending on mesohabitats. These disturbances include sediment flushing operations, commonly carried out to recover reservoir capacity, and investigating their effects at mesohabitat scale could be relevant for an adequate ecological impact assessment of these operations. Here, we compared benthic macroinvertebrate communities sampled before and after a controlled sediment flushing operation in three different mesohabitats (a pool, a riffle and a step-pool) of an Alpine stream. Contrary from expectations, the composition of macroinvertebrate assemblages was not significantly different among mesohabitats. Moreover, the impact of sediment flushing was more significant in terms of density rather than in richness. Two stressor-specific indices were tested, but only one (the Siltation Index for LoTic EcoSystems − SILTES) clearly detected the impact of sediment flushing on the macroinvertebrate community structure. Finally, some differences in the temporal trajectories and recovery times to pre-flushing conditions were observed among mesohabitats, both if the three mesohabitats were considered separately and if all their possible combinations were accounted for. Particularly, riffle was the most sensitive mesohabitat, not fully recovering one year after the sediment disturbance.
Key words: Pool / riffle / step-pool / macroinvertebrates / stressor-specific index
© A. Doretto et al., Published by EDP Sciences 2022
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License CC-BY-ND (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you may not distribute the modified material.
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