, Volume 714, Issue 1, pp 169–182 | Cite as

Influence of macroconsumers, stream position, and nutrient gradients on invertebrate assemblage development following flooding in intermittent prairie streams

  • Katie N. BertrandEmail author
  • Matt R. Whiles
  • Keith B. Gido
  • Justin N. Murdock
Primary Research Paper


Climate change in the US Great Plains is expected to result in less frequent but more severe floods. This will affect hydrologic cycles, stream organisms, and ultimately ecosystem structure and function. We examined factors influencing invertebrate assemblages following flooding in 3 reaches (20 pools) of Kings Creek, an intermittent prairie stream on the Konza Prairie Biological Station, using replicated macroconsumer enclosures (fishless, dace, shiners, ambient). Invertebrate densities and biomass increased rapidly following scouring, including rapid colonizing taxa and relatively long-lived taxa, but macroconsumers had no significant effects. Rather, distance, which was negatively correlated with the concentration of dissolved inorganic nitrogen, from the downstream confluence with a larger stream significantly influenced assemblage structure, with higher richness and greater nutrient concentrations closer to the confluence. Results support previous findings that recovery patterns following flooding in this grassland stream are strongly influenced by proximity to refuges. Furthermore, physical rather than biological factors appear more influential in structuring invertebrate assemblages in these frequently disturbed systems. Predicted increases in the intensity and duration of hydrologic disturbances will increase direct impacts on stream communities, relative to indirect effects through potential changes in macroconsumer communities. Human activities that alter refuges may further impede recovery following hydrologic disturbances.


Disturbance Invertebrate Flood Prairie stream Macroconsumer Gradients 



M. Stone, S. Peterson, W. Dodds, J. Howe, J. Bengtson, J. Nemec, and A. Riley assisted in the field and laboratory. D. Whiting provided invertebrate data from Kings Creek that he collected during 2003–2004 previous to this study. Funding was provided by the National Science Foundation through the Konza Prairie Long-Term Ecological Research Program (LTER) and Ecology Panel (DEB-0416126).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katie N. Bertrand
    • 1
    Email author
  • Matt R. Whiles
    • 2
  • Keith B. Gido
    • 3
  • Justin N. Murdock
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Natural Resource ManagementSouth Dakota State UniversityBrookingsUSA
  2. 2.Department of Zoology and Center for EcologySouthern Illinois UniversityCarbondaleUSA
  3. 3.Division of BiologyKansas State UniversityManhattanUSA
  4. 4.Department of BiologyTennessee Technological UniversityCookevilleUSA

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