, Volume 551, Issue 1, pp 227-236

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

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Abstract

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.