Macrophyte communities of European streams with altered physical habitat

O'Hare, Mattie; Baattrup-Pedersen, Annette; Nijboer, Rebi; Szoszkiewicz, Krysztof; Ferreira, Teresa. 2006 Macrophyte communities of European streams with altered physical habitat. Hydrobiologia, 566. 197-210.

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The impact of altering hydro-morphology on three macrophyte community types was investigated at 107 European stream sites. Sites were surveyed using standard macrophyte and habitat survey techniques (Mean Trophic Rank Methodology and River Habitat Survey respectively). Principal Components Analysis shows the macrophyte community of upland streams live in a more structurally diverse physical habitat than lowland communities. Variables representing the homogeneity and diversity of the physical environment were used to successfully separate un-impacted from impacted sites, e.g. homogeneity of depth and substrate increased with decreasing quality class for lowland sites (ANOVA p < 0.05). Macrophyte attribute groups and structural metrics such as species richness were successfully linked to hydro-morphological variables indicative of impact. Most links were specific to each macrophyte community type, e.g., the attribute group liverworts, mosses and lichens decreased in abundance with increasing homogeneity of depth and decreasing substrate size at lowland sites but not at upland sites. Elodea canadensis, Sparganium emersum and Potamogeton crispus were indicative of impacted lowland sites. Many of the indicator species are also known to be tolerant to other forms of impact. The potential for a macrophyte tool indicative of hydro-morphological impact is discussed. It is concluded one could be constructed by combining indicator species and metrics such as species richness and evenness

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Water
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: _ River Ecology
ISSN: 0018-8158
Format Availability: Electronic, Print
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: The original publication is available at
Additional Keywords: plant, vegetation, stream, damming, realignment
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 03 Jul 2007 09:25 +0 (UTC)

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