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The identification of hydrological indices for the characterization of macroinvertebrate community response to flow regime variability

Worrall, T.P ; Dunbar, M.J.; Extence, C.A.; Laize, C.L.R.; Monk, W.A.; Wood, P.J.. 2014 The identification of hydrological indices for the characterization of macroinvertebrate community response to flow regime variability [in special issue: Hydrological science for environmental flows] Hydrological Sciences Journal, 59 (3-4). 645-658. 10.1080/02626667.2013.825722

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Abstract/Summary

The importance of flow regime variability for maintaining ecological functioning and integrity of river ecosystems has been firmly established in both natural and anthropogenically modified systems. In this paper we examine river flow regimes across lowland catchments in eastern England using 47 variables, including those derived using the Indicators of Hydrologic Alteration (IHA) software. A Principal Components Analysis (PCA) method was used to identify redundant hydrological variables and those that best characterised the hydrological series (1986-2005). A small number of variables (< 6 variables) characterised up to 95% of the statistical variability in the flow series. The hydrological processes and conditions that the variables represent were found to be significant in structuring the instream macroinvertebrate community LIFE scores at both the family- and species-level. However, hydrological variables only account for a relatively small proportion of the total ecological variability (typically <10%). The research indicates that a range of other factors, including channel morphology and anthropogenic modification of instream habitats, structure riverine macroinvertebrate communities in addition to hydrology. These factors need to be considered in future environmental flow studies to enable the characterisation of baseline/reference conditions for management and restoration purposes.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1080/02626667.2013.825722
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biodiversity
CEH Sections: Acreman
ISSN: 0262-6667
Additional Keywords: environmental flow, inter\-annual flow regime, community response, hydromorphology, ecohydrology
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Hydrology
Date made live: 12 Mar 2014 14:21 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/505354

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