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.
KeywordsBiological monitoring Long-term variability Benthic macroinvertebrates Fishes Mediterranean climate Streams
We thank Núria Bonada, Michael Marchetti, and two reviewers for their comments. We also thank the scores of undergraduate and graduate assistants that helped in data collection; and Peter Moyle and Ted Grantham for providing information on long-term studies of fishes conducted in California.
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