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The effects of habitat complexity on the macroinvertebrates colonising wood substrates in a lowland stream

, : The effects of habitat complexity on the macroinvertebrates colonising wood substrates in a lowland stream. Oecologia (Berlin) 85.4: 504-512

Woody debris is a major structural component of south-eastern Australian lowland streams, and the decayed wood substrates provide a structurally complex habitat for macroinvertebrate colonization. I tested for the presence of a species richness-habitat complexity relationship for macroinvertebrate species inhabiting the surfaces of decayed submerged logs (snags) in a lowland stream in northern Victoria. The species-habitat complexity relationship is defined as the increase in species richness due to increased structural complexity of a habitat when area is held constant. The response of macroinvertebrates to seven treatments of artificial and natural substrates of differing levels and types of structural complexity were examined using cluster analyses and MANOVAs. These analyses revealed a significant species-habitat complexity relationship. In addition, a comparison of species evenness between simple and complex habitats supported the hypothesis that more complex habitats contained more species because they possessed more resources. Analysis of species richness, though informative, masked the complexity of species responses revealed by multivariate analyses of species abundances. These analyses showed that different species groups selected different microhabitats on snags, particularly in response to the level of sediment deposition, which was greater on more structurally complex snags. In comparison with the benthos, snags were significantly richer in species abundances, possibly related to low levels of dissolved oxygen in benthic habitats.

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Accession: 002249212

DOI: 10.1007/bf00323762

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