University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

The Influence of Geology and Season on Macroinvertebrates in Belizean Streams: Implications for Tropical Bioassessment

Carrie, Rachael, Dobson, M. and Barlow, J. (2015) The Influence of Geology and Season on Macroinvertebrates in Belizean Streams: Implications for Tropical Bioassessment. Freshwater Science, 34 (2). pp. 648-662. ISSN Print 2161-9549 Online 2161-9565

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Considerable attention has been paid to the potentially confounding effects of geological and seasonal variation on outputs from bioassessments in temperate streams, but our understanding about these influences is limited for many tropical systems. We explored variation in macroinvertebrate assemblage composition and the environmental characteristics of 3rd- to 5th-order streams in a geologically heterogeneous tropical landscape in the wet and dry seasons. Study streams drained catchments with land cover ranging from predominantly forested to agricultural land, but data indicated that distinct water-chemistry and substratum conditions associated with predominantly calcareous and silicate geologies were key determinants of macroinvertebrate assemblage composition. Most notably, calcareous streams were characterized by a relatively abundant noninsect fauna, particularly a pachychilid gastropod snail. The association between geological variation and assemblage composition was apparent during both seasons, but significant temporal variation in compositional characteristics was detected only in calcareous streams, possibly because of limited statistical power to detect change at silicate sites, or the limited extent of our temporal data. We discuss the implications of our findings for tropical bioassessment programs. Our key findings suggest that geology can be an important determinant of macroinvertebrate assemblages in tropical streams and that geological heterogeneity may influence the scale of temporal response in characteristic macroinvertebrate assemblages.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: biomonitoring, assemblage composition, temporal and spatial effects, Neotropics, Mesoamerica
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Divisions: College of Health, Life and Environmental Sciences > School of Science and the Environment
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Depositing User: Rachael Carrie
Date Deposited: 02 Aug 2016 12:48
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:12

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