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A novel method reveals how channel retentiveness and stocks of detritus (CPOM) vary among streams differing in bed roughness
Freshwater Biology ( IF 3.835 ) Pub Date : 2020-04-19 , DOI: 10.1111/fwb.13496
William D. Bovill; Barbara J. Downes; P. S. Lake

Coarse particulate organic matter (CPOM) is a fundamental resource in freshwater streams, providing food, shelter and habitat for diverse invertebrate taxa and playing a key role in metabolism in low‐order streams. Benthic CPOM stocks are determined by rates of supply and breakdown of detritus and by channel retentiveness (i.e. the capacity for the channel to trap and retain CPOM). We focussed on factors affecting the retentiveness of channels, which theoretically differs among streams with different sediment sizes and concomitant channel morphology. We developed a new, rapid method to measure retentiveness using line‐intercept surveys along transects. With this rapid approach, we surveyed 32 sites from three types of streams (smooth sandy channels, n = 10; gravel channels of intermediate roughness, n = 12; rough cobble channels, n = 10) in Victoria, south‐eastern Australia, and tested the simple hypotheses that: (1) retentiveness increases in channels with increasing channel roughness (i.e. sandy versus gravel versus cobble‐bed streams); (2) different types of channel features (e.g. log jams, cobbles, depositional areas) differ in the efficiency with which they retain CPOM. The line‐intercept survey method was readily adapted to measure retentiveness as m of retentive structure per m of transect (i.e. the Linear Coverage Index) and trapping efficiency as m of CPOM per m of retentive element, for 10 different types of retentive elements. Unexpectedly, the retentiveness of channels did not increase with channel roughness. This occurred because channels with different roughness were dominated by different types of retentive structure. Retentive structure in cobble sites was dominated by cobbles themselves, which were highly retentive in other studies but poorly retentive in our system. Gravel and sand sites had more log jams and depositional areas, such as pools and backwaters, and these features were more effective at trapping CPOM. Thus, retention of CPOM was highest in gravel and sand sites. Our method provides a new tool for investigators testing hypotheses about CPOM retention in streams. The method is rapid, requires a minimum of equipment and personnel, and may be applied in any wadeable stream. Retentiveness is calculated in intuitive units that are directly comparable among sites and may have utility as variables in models of CPOM dynamics. We hope this method will open up new avenues for research that may shed light on how CPOM stocks vary among streams, with implications for diversity of aquatic fauna and ecosystem functions such as decomposition.
更新日期:2020-04-22

 

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