Predicting Macroinvertebrate Responses to Water Abstraction in Alpine Streams

Consoli, Gabriele and Lepori, Fabio and Robinson, Christopher T. and Bruder, Andreas (2021) Predicting Macroinvertebrate Responses to Water Abstraction in Alpine Streams. Water, 13 (15). p. 2121. ISSN 2073-4441

Full text not available from this repository. (Request a copy)


Exploitation of hydropower potential in alpine areas undermines the ecological integrity of rivers. Damming and water abstraction substantially alter the physical habitat template of rivers, with strong repercussions on aquatic communities and their resources. Tools are needed to predict and manage the consequences of these alterations on the structure and functioning of macroinvertebrate communities and resource availability in alpine streams. We developed habitat preference models for taxa, functional feeding guilds, and organic resources to quantify the effects of discharge alteration on macroinvertebrate communities in two alpine streams. Our physical habitat model related an indirect measure of bottom hydraulic forces (FST hemispheres) to the distribution of macroinvertebrate taxa and their resources. We observed that flow-dependent habitat availability for macroinvertebrate communities generally decreased with increasing water abstraction. We were able to relate these changes to near-bed hydraulic conditions. Our results suggest, however, the existence of upper discharge thresholds delimiting optimal habitat conditions for taxa. In contrast, we found weak effects of near-bed hydraulic conditions on resource distribution. Overall, our findings contribute towards predicting the impacts of water abstraction on macroinvertebrate communities in small alpine streams and the benefits of baseflow restoration.

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item