Wright, J.F., Gunn, R.J.M., Winder, J.M., Wiggers, R., Vowles, K.E., Clarke, R. T. and Harris, I., 2002. A Comparison of the Macrophyte Cover and Macroinvertebrate Fauna at Three Sites on the River Kennet in the Mid 1970s and Late 1990s. Science of the Total Environment, 282-28, pp. 121-142.
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In 1974–1976, baseline studies were carried out on the flora and macroinvertebrate fauna of the R. Kennet at two sites downstream of Marlborough (Savernake Upper and Lower) and at one site upstream of Hungerford (Littlecote). Simplified maps of each site, showing the cover of macrophytes, were obtained monthly between April 1974 and April/June 1976, and replicated quantitative samples of the macroinvertebrates were collected on the dominant macrophyte and on gravel in June 1974, and also in June and December 1975. As a consequence of two major droughts and increasing concern over water quality in the Upper Kennet in the 1990s, the studies recommenced in the summer of 1997 using the same sites and methodologies. Maps and macroinvertebrate samples were obtained in early July and December 1997 and in June of both 1998 and 1999. At the Savernake sites, mapping in summer 1997 confirmed what had been apparent for some years. That is, macrophyte cover (both Ranunculus and Schoenoplectus) was much lower than in the 1970s. In contrast, the site downstream at Littlecote retained a relatively high cover of Ranunculus, despite the drought. In late autumn 1997, phosphate stripping commenced at Marlborough Sewage Treatment Works, the drought ended and in addition, the spring of 1998 was unusually wet. Ranunculus recolonised both Savernake sites with remarkable speed by summer 1998 and retained this dominant position in 1999. Quantitative samples of macroinvertebrates collected on gravel and the dominant macrophyte at each of the three study sites indicated that there was no evidence of major loss of family richness between the 1970s and 1990s as a result of the low flows or enrichment. However, at Savernake (but not Littlecote) in summer 1997, the macroinvertebrate assemblage was affected by low flows and/or enrichment. This took the form of changes in the abundance of some families, with lentic forms being favoured in relation to some lotic families. Following the end of the drought, many macroinvertebrate families at Savernake showed a rapid response to the new conditions and the assemblages reverted to those expected in a fast-flowing cretaceous chalk stream. Continued monitoring through the next drought is advisable to provide a greater understanding of the interplay between water quality, the discharge regime, habitat quality (including macrophyte growth) and the response of the macroinvertebrate fauna.
|Subjects:||Geography and Environmental Studies|
Science > Biology and Botany
|Group:||School of Applied Sciences > Centre for Conservation, Ecology and Environmental Change|
|Deposited By:||INVALID USER|
|Deposited On:||27 Nov 2008 19:17|
|Last Modified:||07 Mar 2013 14:58|
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