, Volume 551, Issue 1, pp 227-236

First online:

Biodiversity and Structure of Macroinvertebrate Communities Along a Small Permanent Salinity Gradient (Meurthe River, France)

  • Christophe PiscartAffiliated withUFR SciFA, Laboratoire BFE, Université de Metz
  • , Jean-Claude MoreteauAffiliated withUFR SciFA, Laboratoire BFE, Université de Metz
  • , Jean-Nicolas BeiselAffiliated withUFR SciFA, Laboratoire BFE, Université de Metz Email author 

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Changes in the macroinvertebrate community were investigated over 10 months at four sites along a 19 km salinity gradient (0.21–2.60 g l−1) in a sixth-order stream, the Meurthe River, northeastern France. Abiotic characteristics other than salinity were similar between the sites. Macroinvertebrate taxonomic richness decreased by 30% downstream of the 1.4 g l−1 sites while diversity, evenness or total abundance of taxa did not change along the gradient. In terms of functioning, a slight change in relative abundances of invertebrate feeding groups followed the salinity gradient. Eight invertebrate assemblages occurred within specific salinity distributions were identified. The exotics Gammarus tigrinus, Dreissena polymorpha, Corbicula fluminalis and Corophium curvispinum, were more abundant at the highest salinity site. These results suggest that rising salinity concentrations drastically affect the species composition, including favouring exotic species.

Key words

salinization freshwater functional feeding groups macroinvertebrate communities