, Volume 83, Issue 2, pp 217-224

First online:

The effect of drought on benthic invertebrate communities in a lowland river

  • C. A. ExtenceAffiliated withApplied Ecology Research Group, The Polytechnic of Central London

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Benthic macroinvertebrates were sampled at regular intervals from rural and urban sections of the River Roding, Essex, England, in 1975 and 1976. During the latter year a severe drought led to a marked decline in flows and to desiccation of parts of the river bed. In general, drought conditions resulted in an increase in invertebrate populations and possible reasons for this are presented. A considerable number of individuals of certain groups such as cased caddisfly larvae and prosobranch molluscs were, however, eliminated from the river at this time, mainly as a result of stranding and chemical changes in the environment. The effect of reduced flows on river faunas is briefly discussed.


river drought macroinvertebrates stranding colonization