The use of palaeoecological and contemporary macroinvertebrate community data to characterize riverine reference conditions: Determining riverine reference conditions using palaeoecological data

Emma Seddon, Matthew Hill, Malcolm Greenwood, Christopher Mainstone, Kate Mathers, James White, Paul Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Defining reference conditions is a crucial element in quantifying the extent of anthropogenic modification and for identifying restoration targets in riverine ecosystems. Despite palaeoecological approaches being widely applied in lakes to establish reference conditions, their use in lotic ecosystems remains limited. In this study, we examine contemporary, historical (1930 and 1972), and palaeoecological macroinvertebrate biodiversity and biomonitoring scores in Eastburn Beck, a headwater tributary of the River Hull (UK) to determine if palaeoecological approaches can be used to characterize lotic system reference conditions. Palaeoecological samples comprised a greater gamma diversity (18 taxa) than contemporary samples (8 taxa), samples taken in 1972 (11 taxa) and 1930 (8 taxa). Palaeoecological samples supported taxonomically different Gastropoda, Trichoptera, and Coleoptera (GTC) communities compared with contemporary and historical samples (1930 and 1972). Results from biomonitoring indices using the GTC community indicated that the palaeochannel had (a) similar invertebrate biological quality, (b) a less energetic flow regime, and (c) increased fine sediment deposits compared with the contemporary channel. The results clearly illustrate that palaeoecological data can provide a suitable method to characterize reference conditions for lotic habitats. However, it is important to recognize that faunal data from palaeochannel deposits provide a short-term “snapshot” of the conditions within the river immediately prior to its hydrological isolation. River restoration activities should therefore draw on multiple lines of evidence, including palaeoecological information where possible, to characterize a range of reference conditions to reflect the highly dynamic nature of lotic ecosystems.

LanguageEnglish
JournalRiver Research and Applications
Early online date21 Jul 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Jul 2019

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Ecosystems
macroinvertebrate
Rivers
biomonitoring
Restoration
ecosystem
Deposits
river
Biodiversity
hull
headwater
Lakes
tributary
Sediments
energetics
invertebrate
biodiversity
lake
habitat
sediment

Cite this

@article{e6f46291d27940d7a1d9a004ea5ae8f4,
title = "The use of palaeoecological and contemporary macroinvertebrate community data to characterize riverine reference conditions: Determining riverine reference conditions using palaeoecological data",
abstract = "Defining reference conditions is a crucial element in quantifying the extent of anthropogenic modification and for identifying restoration targets in riverine ecosystems. Despite palaeoecological approaches being widely applied in lakes to establish reference conditions, their use in lotic ecosystems remains limited. In this study, we examine contemporary, historical (1930 and 1972), and palaeoecological macroinvertebrate biodiversity and biomonitoring scores in Eastburn Beck, a headwater tributary of the River Hull (UK) to determine if palaeoecological approaches can be used to characterize lotic system reference conditions. Palaeoecological samples comprised a greater gamma diversity (18 taxa) than contemporary samples (8 taxa), samples taken in 1972 (11 taxa) and 1930 (8 taxa). Palaeoecological samples supported taxonomically different Gastropoda, Trichoptera, and Coleoptera (GTC) communities compared with contemporary and historical samples (1930 and 1972). Results from biomonitoring indices using the GTC community indicated that the palaeochannel had (a) similar invertebrate biological quality, (b) a less energetic flow regime, and (c) increased fine sediment deposits compared with the contemporary channel. The results clearly illustrate that palaeoecological data can provide a suitable method to characterize reference conditions for lotic habitats. However, it is important to recognize that faunal data from palaeochannel deposits provide a short-term “snapshot” of the conditions within the river immediately prior to its hydrological isolation. River restoration activities should therefore draw on multiple lines of evidence, including palaeoecological information where possible, to characterize a range of reference conditions to reflect the highly dynamic nature of lotic ecosystems.",
keywords = "Biomonitoring, Chalk Stream, Conservation, Lotic ecosystem, Palaeochannel, Restoration, river restoration, baseline conditions, conservation, biomonitoring, palaeochannel, lotic ecosystems",
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year = "2019",
month = "7",
day = "21",
doi = "10.1002/rra.3490",
language = "English",
journal = "River Research and Applications",
issn = "1535-1459",
publisher = "John Wiley and Sons Ltd",

}

The use of palaeoecological and contemporary macroinvertebrate community data to characterize riverine reference conditions : Determining riverine reference conditions using palaeoecological data. / Seddon, Emma ; Hill, Matthew; Greenwood, Malcolm; Mainstone, Christopher ; Mathers, Kate ; White, James ; Wood, Paul.

In: River Research and Applications, 21.07.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - The use of palaeoecological and contemporary macroinvertebrate community data to characterize riverine reference conditions

T2 - River Research and Applications

AU - Seddon, Emma

AU - Hill, Matthew

AU - Greenwood, Malcolm

AU - Mainstone, Christopher

AU - Mathers, Kate

AU - White, James

AU - Wood, Paul

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Y1 - 2019/7/21

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AB - Defining reference conditions is a crucial element in quantifying the extent of anthropogenic modification and for identifying restoration targets in riverine ecosystems. Despite palaeoecological approaches being widely applied in lakes to establish reference conditions, their use in lotic ecosystems remains limited. In this study, we examine contemporary, historical (1930 and 1972), and palaeoecological macroinvertebrate biodiversity and biomonitoring scores in Eastburn Beck, a headwater tributary of the River Hull (UK) to determine if palaeoecological approaches can be used to characterize lotic system reference conditions. Palaeoecological samples comprised a greater gamma diversity (18 taxa) than contemporary samples (8 taxa), samples taken in 1972 (11 taxa) and 1930 (8 taxa). Palaeoecological samples supported taxonomically different Gastropoda, Trichoptera, and Coleoptera (GTC) communities compared with contemporary and historical samples (1930 and 1972). Results from biomonitoring indices using the GTC community indicated that the palaeochannel had (a) similar invertebrate biological quality, (b) a less energetic flow regime, and (c) increased fine sediment deposits compared with the contemporary channel. The results clearly illustrate that palaeoecological data can provide a suitable method to characterize reference conditions for lotic habitats. However, it is important to recognize that faunal data from palaeochannel deposits provide a short-term “snapshot” of the conditions within the river immediately prior to its hydrological isolation. River restoration activities should therefore draw on multiple lines of evidence, including palaeoecological information where possible, to characterize a range of reference conditions to reflect the highly dynamic nature of lotic ecosystems.

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KW - Chalk Stream

KW - Conservation

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KW - Palaeochannel

KW - Restoration

KW - river restoration

KW - baseline conditions

KW - conservation

KW - biomonitoring

KW - palaeochannel

KW - lotic ecosystems

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SN - 1535-1459

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