Tributary and Mainstem Benthic Macroinvertebrate Communities Linked By Direct Dispersal and Indirect Habitat Alteration
Benthic communities in tributary-mainstem networks might interact via downstream drift of invertebrates or material from tributaries and adult dispersal from the mainstem. Depending on the strength of these interactions, mainstem downstream communities are expected to be more similar to tributary communities due to drift or habitat alteration. Communities not connected by flow are expected to be similar due to adult dispersal but decreasing in similarity with distance from the mainstem. We investigated interactions between invertebrate communities of a 7th order river and 5th order tributary by comparing benthic community structure in the river upstream and downstream of the tributary confluence and upstream in the tributary. Non-metric multidimensional scaling showed invertebrate communities and habitat traits from river locations directly downstream of the tributary clustered tightly, intermediate between tributary and mid-channel river locations. In addition, Bray-Curtis dissimilarity increased between the mainstem and tributary with distance upstream in the tributary. Our results indicate that similarities between mainstem and tributary communities are potentially caused by direct mass effects from tributary to downstream mainstem communities by invertebrate drift and indirect mass effects by habitat restructuring via material delivery from the tributary, as well as potential effects of adult dispersal from the river on proximal tributary communities.
Wilson, Matthew J. and McTammany, Matthew. "Tributary and Mainstem Benthic Macroinvertebrate Communities Linked By Direct Dispersal and Indirect Habitat Alteration." Hydrobiologia 738, no. 1 (2014) : 75-85.