Ecological responses to riverine floods and flow alteration Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/qj72pb09t

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  • Floods are major disturbance events for riverine ecosystems, directly and indirectly impacting organisms and their habitat. In this study I investigated the role of riverine floods and flow alteration in regulating aquatic macroinvertebrate population and community structure. I examined this problem using a variety of methods: a meta-analytic review of primary studies from the literature, a mathematical model synthesizing population and flood ecology, a multi-year experimental flood program in an arid-land river, and a field investigation of flood recovery behaviors in a charismatic larval odonate. I found that floods significantly reduced invertebrate abundance in the short term, but had varied effects across particular study sites, microhabitats, and taxonomic groups. I determined that both resistant and resilient capabilities are important to persistence of invertebrate populations after disturbance events, and that these traits may act in a binary fashion. Recovery over time of invertebrate populations may be partially due to "hidden resistance" of spatially displaced individuals in side-channels, benthic substrate, and vegetation or wood. Some invertebrates adapted to flood-prone rivers may possess behavioral adaptations for returning to the main-channel of the river after flood events. This dissertation contributes to riverine disturbance ecology and provides information useful to prediction and management of ecosystem flows in rivers.
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