, Volume 150, Issue 1, pp 45–61 | Cite as

The macro-invertebrate communities of temporary pools in an intermittent stream in tropical Queensland

  • R. E. W. Smith
  • R. G. Pearson


Nine pools were studied in an intermittent stream. They were close to each other but differed in size, substratum, amount of shade and duration of water presence. Initial conditions were set by wet season flooding, following which each pool developed its own character. Cluster analysis showed that communities changed substantially with time in both species composition and abundance, and that some initially similar communities diverged while some initially dissimilar ones converged.

Principal Components Analysis showed that these community changes were due largely to the drying of the pools, and to seasonal effects. Specialised drying communities developed in the pools of longer duration (up to 8 months), but not in the short-lived pools (3–4 months). Apparently similar numerical responses in different pools were often caused by different suites of predominant species.

The diversity of the fauna (total of 78 species) was high in comparison with similar habitats in non-tropical regions.

The pattern of development of the pools' communities was much as expected from island biogeography theory, except that there was no relationship between species richness and duration and size of pools. The species complements were largely opportunistic, being governed by extreme environmental disturbance.


temporary waters macro-invertebrate communities tropics Australia colonisation 


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Copyright information

© Dr W. Junk Publishers 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. E. W. Smith
    • 1
  • R. G. Pearson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyJames Cook UniversityTownsville, QueenslandAustralia

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