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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2001

Colonisation of experimentally immersed wood in south eastern Australia: responses of feeding groups to changes in riparian vegetation

Mckie, Brendan; Cranston, Peter S.


We investigated macroinvertebrate abundance and functional feeding groups colonising experimentally-positioned woody substrates of different species in streams with three different riparian vegetation types. Native Eucalyptus forest formed a dense closed canopy over our streams; introduced (exotic, alien) pine plantation forest did not fully shade the streams, and grassland streams were completely open, although with woody riparian vegetation well upstream of our sites. Macroinvertebrate assemblages varied taxonomically and functionally with both wood species and riparian vegetation composition. Two specialist feeding groups responded clearly to riparian vegetation: wood gougers were most common in forested streams, and algal grazers in more open streams. Gougers colonised native Eucalyptus wood in preference to alien species. Other feeding groups responses showed complex interactions between vegetation and wood type. Our results indicate the importance of sampling appropriate substrates when assessing questions of this type - if seeking shifts in functional organisation, the substrates on which the feeding groups of interest occur must be sampled. The composition of the riparian strip may influence xylophilous communities as much as the structure (i.e. whether closed or open).


macroinvertebrate; immersed wood; feeding groups; riparian zone

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2001, Volume: 452, number: 1-3, pages: 1-14

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