The vertical distribution of macrobenthos within the substratum of the Brazos river, Texas
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Vertical stratification samplers were developed for sampling the grave-sand substrate of a Brazos River, Texas riffle. Fifteen of 25 species recovered, occurred below 10 cm. Mean percentages of total organisms recovered were 66.4%, 20%, 6.1% and 7.5% per 10 cm level, respectively, from the surface down. Dominant insects were Neochoroterpes mexicanas naiads and chironomid, Simulium, Cheumatopsyche and Stenelmis larvae. Seasonal population peaks of these five groups in the top 10 cm correspond with observed emergence peaks. The smaller size classes were generally predominant in the 0–10 cm level. Larvae of Stenelmis were the most evenly distributed among the various 10 cm levels in all size classes. A movement of Cheumatopsyche and Neochoroterpes to lower levels was observed following a large flood, suggesting an escape response to increased silt load and scouring.
Dissolved oxygen ranged from saturation at the surface down to 0.4–0.7 ppm at 30–40 cm, indicating that it was possibly limiting at lower levels. Maximum temperature difference between to cm levels was only 3 C. Flow was negligible below to cm.
The vertical stratification sampler recovered significantly greater populations in the surface 20 cm, but not in the total 40 cm, than a modified Hess sq. ft. sampler.
KeywordsBenthos Substrate Hyporheic Sampler
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