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Squeezed out: the consequences of riparian zone modification for specialist invertebrates

Sinnadurai, Paul, Jones, Thomas Hefin and Ormerod, Stephen James 2016. Squeezed out: the consequences of riparian zone modification for specialist invertebrates. Biodiversity and Conservation 25 (14) , pp. 3075-3092. 10.1007/s10531-016-1220-9

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Abstract

While anthropogenic biodiversity loss in fresh waters is among the most rapid of all ecosystems, impacts on the conservation of associated riparian zones are less well documented. Riverine ecotones are particularly vulnerable to the combined ‘squeeze’ between land-use encroachment, discharge regulation and climate change. Over a 3-year period of persistent low discharge in a regulated, temperate river system (River Usk, Wales, UK; 2009–2011), specialist carabid beetles on exposed riverine sediments (ERS) were used as model organisms to test the hypotheses that catchment-scale flow modification affects riparian zone invertebrates more than local habitat character, and that this modification is accompanied by associated succession among the Carabidae. Annual summer discharge during the study period was among the lowest of the preceding 12 years, affecting carabid assemblages. The richness of specialist ERS carabids declined, while generalist carabid species’ populations either increased in abundance or remained stable. Community composition also changed, as three (Bembidion prasinum, B. decorum and B. punctulatum) of the four dominant carabids typical of ERS increased in abundance while B. atrocaeruleum decreased. Despite significant inter-annual variation in habitat quality and the encroachment of ground vegetation, beetle assemblages more closely tracked reach-scale variations between sites or catchment-scale variations through time. These data from multiple sites and years illustrate how ERS Carabidae respond to broad-scale discharge variations more than local habitat character. This implies that the maintenance of naturally variable flow regimes is at least as important to the conservation of ERS and their dependent assemblages as are site-scale measures.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Uncontrolled Keywords: BeetlesClimate changeBembidionDischargeExposed riverine sedimentsRegulation
Publisher: Springer Verlag
ISSN: 0960-3115
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 16 November 2016
Date of Acceptance: 24 September 2016
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2019 16:24
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/95740

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