, Volume 719, Issue 1, pp 93-118
Date: 21 Nov 2012

Long-term population and community patterns of benthic macroinvertebrates and fishes in Northern California Mediterranean-climate streams

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Long-term studies can document temporal patterns in freshwater ecosystems, and this is particularly important in mediterranean-climate (med-climate) regions because of strong interannual variation in precipitation amounts and consequently stream flow. We review long-term studies of populations and communities of benthic macroinvertebrate and fishes from sites throughout the med-climate region of California and develop generalities that may apply broadly to med-climate streams worldwide. Severe drought may result in community shifts, and alter age-structure in both macroinvertebrates and fishes. Within-year seasonal patterns in macroinvertebrate communities can be influenced by annual variability in flow regimes. Macroinvertebrate biological-monitoring metrics with consistently low intra-annual variability may be especially applicable in med-climate streams, as is the use of different temporal windows to describe reference periods to reduce influence of interannual variability on impact detection. Long-term data can be used to develop macroinvertebrate-based metrics that can either show or be independent of climate-change effects. Most macroinvertebrate species are temporally rare in their annual occurrence. Multiple components of natural flow regimes can favor native over invasive fishes. Long-term, quantitative information from med-climate streams is generally lacking, which is a hindrance to both management practices and development of appropriate ecological constructs.