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Development of a biotic index using stream macroinvertebrates to assess stress from deposited fine sediment

Development of a biotic index using stream macroinvertebrates to assess stress from deposited fine sediment
Development of a biotic index using stream macroinvertebrates to assess stress from deposited fine sediment
Detrimental impacts of excessive fine-grained sediment inputs to streams and rivers are well established. What is less well understood is the susceptibility of different elements of the freshwater biota to such perturbations and how such knowledge of their susceptibility could aid in identifying where excessive fine-grained sediment is impairing ecological condition.

Following the collection of biological and sediment data from 179 streams across England and Wales, representative of a range of river types over a gradient of fine sediment loading, objective statistical approaches were applied to establish relationships between the macroinvertebrate assemblage and fine-grained sediment inputs to river channels.

Having factored out that portion of the biological variation associated with natural environmental gradients, a model comprising mass of organic sediment in erosional areas of the stream bed [predominantly associated with the first axis of the partial canonical correspondence analysis (pCCA)], and mass of fine-grained sediment in the surface drape of depositional areas and % organic content in erosional areas (associated with the second axis of the pCCA) as explanatory variables best accounted for the residual variation in the macroinvertebrate assemblage.

The relative position of taxa along both axes of the pCCA, provided a ranking of taxa in relation to the two gradients of fine-grained sediment and provided the basis for a new empirically derived diagnostic index for fine-grained sediment stress in rivers. Two sub-indices were derived to capture the assemblage responses to both the gradient of organic sediment in erosional areas and the gradient of total fines in depositional areas. The two sub-indices were then combined to derive the new combined fine sediment index (CoFSIsp).

The index was tested on an independent test data set (comprising 127 samples from 83 sites) and was found to provide a robust indication of benthic fine-grained sediment conditions (Spearman's rank correlations ? = ?0.519 to ?0.703). The strength of correlation with the total fine-grained sediment gradient was always greater than that for other routinely used indices, confirming that CoFSIsp offered additional explanatory power when assessing this stressor of aquatic environments.
0046-5070
2019-2036
Murphy, John F.
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Jones, J. Iwan
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Pretty, James L.
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Duerdoth, Chas P.
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Hawczak, Adrianna
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Arnold, Amanda
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Blackburn, John H.
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Naden, Pamela S.
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Old, Gareth
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Sear, David A.
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Hornby, Duncan
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Clarke, Ralph T.
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Collins, Adrian L.
700e5f6a-4de3-4406-ad7a-d9d8ec0a5069
Murphy, John F.
e825aac7-ecf8-4e85-a406-623c11404c9b
Jones, J. Iwan
17f9c2a3-9d6e-48ce-9554-6593fd368f0a
Pretty, James L.
04ea4a4c-b7f0-4ea3-ba07-97179897cbae
Duerdoth, Chas P.
ddf8cae4-f693-4f98-9b4f-a795f9275b15
Hawczak, Adrianna
a2176a02-5c41-4bd3-9b86-5ac29a22b8aa
Arnold, Amanda
9da5bddd-d720-413b-a740-7632ccb4b186
Blackburn, John H.
ffa7e1ba-9ae1-4792-aef2-482e55ae694e
Naden, Pamela S.
849d8314-8369-4bd6-bfb8-fafdd7f08823
Old, Gareth
244e7683-b407-41ea-be28-454c7a996cb9
Sear, David A.
ccd892ab-a93d-4073-a11c-b8bca42ecfd3
Hornby, Duncan
75cfaf57-72c1-4392-a78c-89b4b1033dca
Clarke, Ralph T.
31bd05e1-8553-4886-8fe0-f0f8a3fac151
Collins, Adrian L.
700e5f6a-4de3-4406-ad7a-d9d8ec0a5069

Murphy, John F., Jones, J. Iwan, Pretty, James L., Duerdoth, Chas P., Hawczak, Adrianna, Arnold, Amanda, Blackburn, John H., Naden, Pamela S., Old, Gareth, Sear, David A., Hornby, Duncan, Clarke, Ralph T. and Collins, Adrian L. (2015) Development of a biotic index using stream macroinvertebrates to assess stress from deposited fine sediment. Freshwater Biology, 60 (10), 2019-2036. (doi:10.1111/fwb.12627).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Detrimental impacts of excessive fine-grained sediment inputs to streams and rivers are well established. What is less well understood is the susceptibility of different elements of the freshwater biota to such perturbations and how such knowledge of their susceptibility could aid in identifying where excessive fine-grained sediment is impairing ecological condition.

Following the collection of biological and sediment data from 179 streams across England and Wales, representative of a range of river types over a gradient of fine sediment loading, objective statistical approaches were applied to establish relationships between the macroinvertebrate assemblage and fine-grained sediment inputs to river channels.

Having factored out that portion of the biological variation associated with natural environmental gradients, a model comprising mass of organic sediment in erosional areas of the stream bed [predominantly associated with the first axis of the partial canonical correspondence analysis (pCCA)], and mass of fine-grained sediment in the surface drape of depositional areas and % organic content in erosional areas (associated with the second axis of the pCCA) as explanatory variables best accounted for the residual variation in the macroinvertebrate assemblage.

The relative position of taxa along both axes of the pCCA, provided a ranking of taxa in relation to the two gradients of fine-grained sediment and provided the basis for a new empirically derived diagnostic index for fine-grained sediment stress in rivers. Two sub-indices were derived to capture the assemblage responses to both the gradient of organic sediment in erosional areas and the gradient of total fines in depositional areas. The two sub-indices were then combined to derive the new combined fine sediment index (CoFSIsp).

The index was tested on an independent test data set (comprising 127 samples from 83 sites) and was found to provide a robust indication of benthic fine-grained sediment conditions (Spearman's rank correlations ? = ?0.519 to ?0.703). The strength of correlation with the total fine-grained sediment gradient was always greater than that for other routinely used indices, confirming that CoFSIsp offered additional explanatory power when assessing this stressor of aquatic environments.

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Published date: 16 July 2015
Organisations: Geography & Environment

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 389597
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/389597
ISSN: 0046-5070
PURE UUID: b274ad18-2c71-4c62-9ba1-f7160daddfa2
ORCID for David A. Sear: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-0191-6179
ORCID for Duncan Hornby: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-6295-1360

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 09 Mar 2016 13:22
Last modified: 15 Aug 2019 00:54

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Contributors

Author: John F. Murphy
Author: J. Iwan Jones
Author: James L. Pretty
Author: Chas P. Duerdoth
Author: Adrianna Hawczak
Author: Amanda Arnold
Author: John H. Blackburn
Author: Pamela S. Naden
Author: Gareth Old
Author: David A. Sear ORCID iD
Author: Duncan Hornby ORCID iD
Author: Ralph T. Clarke
Author: Adrian L. Collins

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