Macroinvertebrate taxa display increased fidelity to preferred biotopes among disturbed sites in a hydrologically variable tropical river

Frank O. Masese, Alfred O. Achieng, Gordon C. O'Brien, Michael E. McClain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Understanding the biotope requirements of the various aquatic biota is crucial for effective biomonitoring. Yet, the biotope preferences of macroinvertebrates in Afrotropical rivers have been poorly studied. In this study, we investigated the influence of human disturbance and flow-driven biotope changes on the β-diversity and biotope preferences of macroinvertebrates in the Mara River, Kenya. Macroinvertebrates were sampled from various biotopes at seven reference and nine impaired sites in wet and dry seasons. β-Diversity was determined (i) for each biotope and (ii) at the site scale, combining all biotopes sampled, and macroinvertebrate biotope preferences were assessed among biotopes between reference and impaired sites. Minor β-diversity differences were observed between reference and impaired sites based on relative abundance data, but differences were greater when the presence–absence data were used. There were no statistically significant changes in macroinvertebrate biotope preference due to human disturbance, but fidelity to preferred biotopes increased at impaired sites. In fast-flowing waters, Simuliidae, Baetidae, Tricorythidae, and Hydropsychidae dominated stable rocky substrates and were the most sensitive to flow alteration. This study adds valuable information on the effects of biotope reduction/loss and flow alteration on the diversity and biotope preferences of macroinvertebrates in Afrotropical rivers, and contributes to improvement of relevant bioassessment protocols and biodiversity conservation efforts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-343
Number of pages23
JournalHydrobiologia
Volume848
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Bioindicators
  • Biotope preferences
  • Flow alteration
  • Macroinvertebrates
  • Rheophilic taxa

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