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The relative influence of catchment, riparian corridor, and reach-scale anthropogenic pressures on fish and macroinvertebrate assemblages in French rivers

Abstract

This study compares the relative influences of physiography and anthropogenic pressures on river biota at catchment, riparian corridor, and reach scales. Environmental data, catchment and riparian corridor land use, anthropogenic modifications and biological data were compiled for 301 French sites sampled from 2005 to 2008. First, relationships between anthropogenic pressures and fish and macroinvertebrate assemblages were analysed using redundancy analysis. Second, the influences of physiography and the three scales of human pressures on biological assemblages were measured using variance partitioning. Distributions of fish and macroinvertebrate taxa along the pressure gradients agreed with bio-ecological knowledge. At the reach scale, assemblage variability among the 301 French sites was related to the presence of an impoundment and to poor water quality, while at larger scales it was linked to a gradient from forest to agricultural covers. In addition, a large proportion of the explained variability in assemblage composition was related to complex interactions among factors (~40%) and to physiographic variables (~30%). Furthermore, our results highlight that catchment land use better reflects local water quality impairments than hydromorphological degradations. Finally, this study supports the idea that human pressure effects on river communities are linked at several spatial scales and must be considered jointly.

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Acknowledgments

This paper is part of the WISER project (Water bodies in Europe: Integrative Systems to assess Ecological status and Recovery) funded by the European Union under the 7th Framework Programme, Theme 6 (Environment including Climate Change) (Contract No. 226273), www.wiser.eu. This work has been supported through a collaboration between Irstea and the French Electric Company (EDF): “HYNES”.

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Correspondence to Anahita Marzin.

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Guest editors: C. K. Feld, A. Borja, L. Carvalho & D. Hering / Water bodies in Europe: integrative systems to assess ecological status and recovery

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Marzin, A., Verdonschot, P.F.M. & Pont, D. The relative influence of catchment, riparian corridor, and reach-scale anthropogenic pressures on fish and macroinvertebrate assemblages in French rivers. Hydrobiologia 704, 375–388 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-012-1254-2

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Keywords

  • Redundancy analysis
  • Land use
  • Human pressures
  • Fish
  • Macroinvertebrate