Stream Ecology and Macroinvertebrate Biology

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Stream Ecology and Macroinvertebrate Biology. Background Information for Developing your Research Project. Ecology. Definition : The study of interactions between individuals and individuals and their environment Simplified Food Chains: Plants Herbivores Predators - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • Stream EcologyandMacroinvertebrate Biology

    Background Information for Developing your Research Project

  • EcologyDefinition: The study of interactions between individuals and individuals and their environment

    Simplified Food Chains:Plants Herbivores Predators

    Dead organic matter Detritivores Predators

    Much green material in temporal areas is not eaten by herbivores, but is delivered to the detrital poolDetritus Dead, decaying, particulate organic matter

  • Source: A. Berkowitz, posted by T. Meyers


  • Functional Feeding Groups of MacroinvertebratesShreddersConsume coarse organic matter, such as leaves (Sowbugs)CollectorsConsume fine pieces of organic matter, such as leaf fragments or other material on stream bottomFiltering Collectors (Clams)Gathering Collectors (Caddisfly larvae)ScrapersFeed on attached periphyton located on submerged underwater surfaces (Example: Snails)PredatorsFeed on other invertebrates (Example: Dragonflies)

  • Food processingof this detritus is a major ecosystem functionSoil formationSupports predators (some predators consumed by humans)Processed in streamsIf it accumulated, would create anoxic conditionsInfluence of processing rates:Quality of detritus (P, N, polyphenols, lignins, etc)Fungi and bacteria colonizationInvertebrate feeding

  • Ecological InteractionsMicrobes and invertebrates process and get energy from detritus Microbes often overlooked on many levelsDifferent species process materials at different ratesIf a species is lost, the entire ecosystem function will changeSpecies are being lost at an alarming rate

  • Adaptations Variations of anatomy/structure allow for tolerance, feeding capacities, and competition

    Trichoptera (Caddisflies) Amphipoda (Scuds) ((Scuds) (Scuds)

  • ImportanceImpacts on HumansAug. 17, 1988, an 85 foot section of Rt. 675 Bridge collapsed over the Pokomoke (Eastern Shore)Reduction in cross section area of piles 18-35%Due to: Bacteria and fungal decay, Caddisfly decay, water currentsIn 1977, MDE estimated Caddisflies occupied 30-100% of the underwater pile surfacesFrom 1976-1986, Caddisflies per 1.5 sq feet in the area averaged 543.5 (High 1977=1837; Low 1986=50)Since 1977, 3 underwater inspections, pile measurements were inconsistentIf use Chemically Treated Wood, less fungal and bacterial growth, therefore, less caddisflies

  • Trichoptera BiologyTaxonomy:Phylum ArthropodaClass InsectaOrder TrichopteraFamily LepidostomatidaeGenus LepidostomaLarvae feed on detritus (shredders)Protective casesYou will identify these to Order at the stream, and to Family in the lab

  • Amphipoda BiologyScuds; Detritivores (Shredders)Taxonomy:Phyllum ArthopodaClass MalacostracaSuperorder PeracaridaOrder AmphipodaFamily Gammaridae

  • Trichoperta Life CyclesCompleteMetamorphosis

  • Amphipoda Life CycleIncomplete Metamorphosis

  • Tolerance/Sensitivity of MacroinvertebratesMacroinvertebrates can also be categorized by their level of tolerance or sensitivity to stream conditionsDissolved oxygenNutrientsPollutantsChemical qualitySome species can live in lower quality water, and are said to be:More tolerantLess sensitive

  • Shredders RolesEcological/TrophicLeaf litter breakdownCPOMFPOMCourse Particulate Organic MatterFine Particulate Organic MatterHuman ImpactPredators (Trout, etc)Bio-indicator0 - 3.75 = No Impairment Evident3.75 - 6.50 = Moderate Impairment>6.5 = Severe Impairment

    Selected Major TaxaOrder/FamilyTVDensityT x DMayfliesEphemeroptera21632StonefliesPlecoptera11414CaddisfliesTricoptera3142426Midges - WhiteChironomidae, Diptera6212Midges - RedChironomidae, Diptera800BeetlesColeoptera4624Aquatic WormsOligochaeta8216Crane FliesTipulidae, Diptera339Black FliesSimuliidae, Diptera6530SnipefliesAnthericidae, Diptera236Other FliesDiptera600Dragon/DamselfliesOdonnata500HellgramitesMegaloptera000AlderfliesMegaloptera400ScudsAmphipoda8864SowbugsIsopoda8216CrayfishDecapoda600Snails/LimpetsGastropoda717Clams/MusselsPelecypoda71177LeechesHirudinea1000Density Total215T x D Total733Biotic Index (T x D) Density3.41

  • Source: A. Berkowitz, posted by T. Meyers

  • E=Ephemeroptera (Mayflies)P=Plecoptera (Stoneflies)T=Trichoptera (Caddisflies)

  • Stream Water ChemistrypHTemperatureNitratesPhosphatesChlorideDissolved Oxygen

  • What Is a Watershed? A watershed is the area of land that drains to a particular point along a streamCenter for Watershed Protection

  • What is a Watershed?

    Definition: the area of land that drains to a particular point along a stream

    Each stream has its own watershed

    Topography is the key element affecting this area of land

    The boundary of a watershed is defined by the highest elevations surrounding the stream

  • OK, now I know that I live in a watershed what types of things can affect the health of my watershed?Center for Watershed ProtectionHigh levels of paved surfaces, or impervious cover, and land use changes can have many impacts on a watershed.

  • Harmful Pollutants in RunoffBacteriaNutrientsPesticidesOil and GreaseTurbid (muddy) waterHeavy Metals (zinc, lead, copper)

  • ImperviousSurfaces

  • Riparian ZoneDefinition: The interface between land and a stream

    Riparian vegetation is often planted as part of stream restoration efforts because it can:Remove nutrients from runoff (from fertilizers, etc)Biofilter pollutantsTrap sediment (less turbid water, improve stream banks)Improve wildlife habitatShade water, mitigating water temperature changesReduce soil erosion, reduce flood damage

  • What is the best way to evaluate stream health?Water chemistry is more transient than biotic index of macroinvertebrates due to:Point-source pollutionRain eventsSeasonal road saltingInconsistent littering/dumping

  • Physical Regions of a StreamRiffle: Rapidly moving water, turbulentPool: Deep, slowly moving waterRun: Smooth flowing water, medium water speed

  • How do you think these different habitat types will effect water chemistry and macroinvertebrate populations?

  • Your Research ProjectObjective is to utilize a learned understanding of stream ecology and macroinvertebrate biology to investigate the effects of habitat preference, possibly due to available nutrients and dissolved oxygen, on macroinvertebrate species diversity and abundance in Hereford High Schools stream

    How can we do this??

  • Leaf PacksNaturalArtificial

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