Affordable Access

Publisher Website

Temporal effects of fine sediment deposition on benthic macroinvertebrate community structure, function and biodiversity likely reflects landscape setting.

  • Mathers, Kate L1
  • Doretto, Alberto2
  • Fenoglio, Stefano3
  • Hill, Matthew J4
  • Wood, Paul J5
  • 1 Geography and Environment, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire LE11 3TU, United Kingdom. Electronic address: [email protected]. , (United Kingdom)
  • 2 Department of Life Sciences and Technological Innovation, Università del Piemonte Orientale, Via T. Michel, 15121 Alessandria, Italy; ALPSTREAM - Alpine Stream Research Center, 12030 Ostana, Italy. , (Italy)
  • 3 Department of Life Sciences and Systems Biology, University of Turin, Via Accademia Albertina, 10123 Turin, Italy; ALPSTREAM - Alpine Stream Research Center, 12030 Ostana, Italy. , (Italy)
  • 4 School of Applied Sciences, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield HD1 3DH, United Kingdom. , (United Kingdom)
  • 5 Geography and Environment, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire LE11 3TU, United Kingdom. , (United Kingdom)
Published Article
The Science of the total environment
Publication Date
Jul 10, 2022
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.154612
PMID: 35307447


Globally, excessive fine sediment (particles <2 mm) deposition is acknowledged to have deleterious effects on aquatic biodiversity. However, the impacts are often equivocal possibly reflecting landscape context, although this is rarely considered. To address this, we examined the temporal response of macroinvertebrate taxonomic and functional diversity to experimental fine sediment clogging in a prealpine (Italy) and lowland setting (UK). Colonisation devices were installed insitu with either clean or clogged substrates and examined for short (7-14 days), medium (21-28 days) and long (56-63 days) timescales. Clogging resulted in altered taxonomic community composition in both the lowland and prealpine rivers and modified functional community composition in the prealpine river. Nestedness was consistently found to be the dominant process driving differences in taxonomic composition between the clean and clogged substrates in the prealpine environment, with clogged substrates forming a nested community. No dominant component structured lowland taxonomic communities. Functional community composition was driven by nestedness in both environments but was heavily dominant in the case of the prealpine river, possibly reflecting low functional redundancy. Widely employed community richness metrics (EPT, taxa and functional richness) only displayed a response to fine sediment loading in the prealpine environment but taxa characterized as sensitive to fine sediment as well as some functional feeding groups did exhibit differences in both settings. In the prealpine environment, the effects of fine sediment intensified over time for several community metrics. Although further research is required to corroborate our findings and extend our observations across more rivers and typologies, excessive fine sediment is a pervasive stressor affecting macroinvertebrate communities in prealpine and lowland environments. However, the biodiversity facets that responded to clogging differed between the two landscape settings probably reflecting wider environmental filtering. Monitoring and managing fine sediment loading likely requires context specific approaches to maximise ecological benefits. Copyright © 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Report this publication


Seen <100 times