Hydrobiologia

, Volume 592, Issue 1, pp 423–438 | Cite as

The effect of fine sedimentation on tropical stream macroinvertebrate assemblages: a comparison using flow-through artificial stream channels and recirculating mesocosms

Primary Research Paper

Abstract

In-situ artificial stream channels and ex-situ laboratory mesocosms were used to measure the responses of macroinvertebrate assemblages, from upland and lowland tropical streams, to high loads of fine clay sediment. Significant responses were observed mainly in the in-situ channels in the upland stream, where densities and the number of taxa were lower in the treatment channels than in controls. There was no evidence of any taxon being particularly sensitive to sedimentation, with a general decrease in densities across several taxa and differences only detectable for abundant taxa. Animals moved downstream in response to the treatment, but only a short distance within the channels. However, further colonization after the treatment was impeded in the treatment channels. In the mesocosm experiments, the upland macroinvertebrate assemblage demonstrated some negative effects; however, the lowland fauna was very tolerant to sedimentation, even when exposure was extended to 15 days. Together, the mesocosm and in-situ experiments indicate that there is a behavioural response to sedimentation because of a change in the habitat, and that the lowland macroinvertebrate assemblage is more tolerant of sedimentation, at least in the short term.

Keywords

Sedimentation Suspended solids Macroinvertebrates Drift Tropical streams Pollution 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank Linda Davis, Joanne Burden, and Gordon Kovacs for providing field and laboratory assistance and Barry Butler for clarifying some water-quality issues. The Rainforest Cooperative Research Centre and Land and Water Australia provided financial support. We also acknowledge the reviewers’ constructive comments.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Australian Centre for Tropical Freshwater ResearchJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia
  2. 2.School of Marine and Tropical BiologyJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia
  3. 3.Environmental Protection AgencyNorthern RegionTownsvilleAustralia

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