Instream hydraulics and riverbed substrate allow for the identification of mesohabitats, and contribute in shaping benthic macroinvertebrate assemblages. However, the role of different depositional conditions between mesohabitats in determining macroinvertebrate response to large sediment input still needs investigation. We studied the evolution of sediment deposits and benthic assemblages in two mesohabitats (a riffle and a glide) of an Alpine river affected by an extreme sediment input. Substrate and hydraulic characteristics were measured in each mesohabitat for 18 months after the sedimentation event. Benthic macroinvertebrates were sampled concurrently, and available pre-event data allowed for before/after comparison. We found evidence of a different response of benthic communities to siltation, associated to the physical structure of the mesohabitat they inhabit. Both substrate and macroinvertebrates were less impacted and recovered faster in the riffle than in the glide. Assemblages in the glide adjusted to the modified habitat through strong proliferation of sand tolerant and preferring families, resulting in higher density and lower diversity compared to the riffle. Our results could support the improvement of the impact assessment of sediment input events. This is particularly relevant given the current global warming, inducing the increase in frequency and intensity of severe rainfall events, and subsequent landslides.

Impacts of fine sediment input on river macroinvertebrates: the role of the abiotic characteristics at mesohabitat scale

Salmaso F.;Espa P.;Crosa G.;Quadroni S.
2021-01-01

Abstract

Instream hydraulics and riverbed substrate allow for the identification of mesohabitats, and contribute in shaping benthic macroinvertebrate assemblages. However, the role of different depositional conditions between mesohabitats in determining macroinvertebrate response to large sediment input still needs investigation. We studied the evolution of sediment deposits and benthic assemblages in two mesohabitats (a riffle and a glide) of an Alpine river affected by an extreme sediment input. Substrate and hydraulic characteristics were measured in each mesohabitat for 18 months after the sedimentation event. Benthic macroinvertebrates were sampled concurrently, and available pre-event data allowed for before/after comparison. We found evidence of a different response of benthic communities to siltation, associated to the physical structure of the mesohabitat they inhabit. Both substrate and macroinvertebrates were less impacted and recovered faster in the riffle than in the glide. Assemblages in the glide adjusted to the modified habitat through strong proliferation of sand tolerant and preferring families, resulting in higher density and lower diversity compared to the riffle. Our results could support the improvement of the impact assessment of sediment input events. This is particularly relevant given the current global warming, inducing the increase in frequency and intensity of severe rainfall events, and subsequent landslides.
2021
Alpine river; Benthic macroinvertebrates; Mesohabitat; Regulated river; Sediment deposition
Salmaso, F.; Espa, P.; Crosa, G.; Quadroni, S.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11383/2125640
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