Benthic macroinvertebrate communities of the athabasca river near Ft. Mackay, Alberta
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- Barton, D.R. Hydrobiologia (1980) 74: 151. doi:10.1007/BF00014567
Benthic macroinvertebrates were sampled at six stations in the Athabasca River near Ft. Mackay, Alberta, during the 1977 open water season. Fluctuating discharge of the river effected changes in the nature of the sediments as well as the abundance and composition of invertebrate communities. During most of the summer, coarse sand was dominated by chironomids of the Harnischia complex and an undescribed Orthocladiinae. Stoneflies and mayflies invaded the coarse sand in autumn when decreasing discharge led to greater stability of the substrate. The invertebrate fauna of silt and mud resembled that of similar substrates in lakes. Bedrock supported communities similar to those of stony streams. The average abundances of invertebrates on sand and mud were similar but estimates from mud were somewhat more variable. These results are discussed with respect to substrate stability and compared with published records from other large rivers.