Aquatic Ecology

, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 153–163 | Cite as

Incorporating invertebrate predators into theory regarding the timing of invertebrate drift

  • Bruce G. Hammock
  • Nickilou Y. Krigbaum
  • Michael L. Johnson


Theory concerning the timing of lotic invertebrate drift suggests that daytime-feeding fish cause invertebrates to restrict their drift behavior to the nighttime. However, there is growing evidence that the nighttime foraging of invertebrate predators also contributes to the nocturnal timing of drift, though it is unclear whether the nocturnal behavior of invertebrate predators is innate or proximately caused by fish. In two experiments, one conducted in a fish-bearing stream and a second in a fishless stream, we compared the drift patterns of Baetidae (Ephemeroptera) from channels with and without benthic invertebrate predators. We tested whether invertebrate predators affect the timing of drift, either as a proximate cause of nocturnal drift in the fishless stream (diel periodicity) or as a proximate cause of a pre-dawn peak in drift in the fish-bearing stream (nocturnal periodicity). In the fish-bearing stream experiment, a pre-dawn increase of baetid drift occurred independently of invertebrate predators, indicating that invertebrate predators were not the proximate cause of nocturnal periodicity in the stream. In the fishless stream experiment, invertebrate predators caused more baetid drift at night than during the day, indicating that invertebrate predators caused the nocturnal drift pattern we observed in the stream, and that invertebrate predators can influence drift timing independently of fish. Therefore, we suggest that both visually feeding fish and nocturnally foraging benthic predators, when present, affect the timing of invertebrate drift; visually feeding fish by reducing daytime drift, and benthic predators by increasing nighttime drift.


Invertebrate drift Diel periodicity Baetidae Benthic invertebrate predators Fish 



We are grateful to Patrick Grof-Tisza for carrying equipment into Observation Basin and his helpful comments on the manuscript. Sharon Lawler, Bruce D. Hammock, David Herbst, Joseph Kiernan, Michael Monaghan, and several anonymous reviewers also provided helpful comments. We thank Harold Werner and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park for permission to conduct research in the park. Funding for the research was provided by grants from the University of California Valentine Eastern Sierra Reserve and California Fly Fishers Unlimited (the Bob Bittner Scholarship).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruce G. Hammock
    • 1
  • Nickilou Y. Krigbaum
    • 1
  • Michael L. Johnson
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Watershed Sciences, John Muir Institute of the EnvironmentUniversity of California, DavisDavisUSA

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