Water or sediment? Partitioning the role of water column and sediment chemistry as drivers of macroinvertebrate communities in an austral South African stream

Tatenda Dalu, Ryan J. Wasserman, Jonathan D. Tonkin, Tongayi Mwedzi, Mandla L. Magoro, Olaf L.F. Weyl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Water pollution is a critical management issue, with many rivers and streams draining urban areas being polluted by the disposal of untreated solid waste and wastewater discharge, storm water and agricultural runoff. This has implications for biodiversity, and many rivers in the developing world are now considered compromised. We investigated benthic macroinvertebrate community structure and composition in relation to physico-chemical conditions of the water column and sediments. The study was conducted in an Austral catchment subject to both urban and agricultural pollutants in two different seasons. We assessed whether sediment characteristics were more important drivers of macroinvertebrate community composition than water column characteristics. We expected clear differences in macroinvertebrate community composition and in the associated community metrics due to distinct flow conditions between the two seasons. A combination of multivariate analyses (canonical correspondence analysis (CCA)) and biological indicator analysis were used to examine these patterns. Chironomidae was the most abundant family (>60%) in the upper mainstem river and stream sites. Stream sites were positively associated with CCA axis 2, being characterised by high turbidity and lower pH, salinity, phosphate concentration, channel width and canopy cover. Canopy cover, channel width, substrate embeddedness, phosphate concentration, pH, salinity and turbidity all had a significant effect on macroinvertebrate community composition. Using CCA variation partitioning, water quality was, however, a better predictor of benthic macroinvertebrate composition than sediment chemical conditions. Furthermore, our results suggest that seasonality had little effect on structuring benthic macroinvertebrate communities in this south-eastern zone of South Africa, despite clear changes in sediment chemistry. This likely reflects the relative lack of major variability in water chemistry compared to sediment chemistry between seasons and the relatively muted variability in precipitation between seasons than the more classic Austral temperate climates.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-325
Number of pages9
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume607-608
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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sediment chemistry
macroinvertebrate
Sediments
partitioning
water column
community composition
Water
correspondence analysis
Chemical analysis
sediment
Rivers
Turbidity
Phosphates
Agricultural runoff
water
turbidity
phosphate
canopy
river
Water pollution

Cite this

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title = "Water or sediment? Partitioning the role of water column and sediment chemistry as drivers of macroinvertebrate communities in an austral South African stream",
abstract = "Water pollution is a critical management issue, with many rivers and streams draining urban areas being polluted by the disposal of untreated solid waste and wastewater discharge, storm water and agricultural runoff. This has implications for biodiversity, and many rivers in the developing world are now considered compromised. We investigated benthic macroinvertebrate community structure and composition in relation to physico-chemical conditions of the water column and sediments. The study was conducted in an Austral catchment subject to both urban and agricultural pollutants in two different seasons. We assessed whether sediment characteristics were more important drivers of macroinvertebrate community composition than water column characteristics. We expected clear differences in macroinvertebrate community composition and in the associated community metrics due to distinct flow conditions between the two seasons. A combination of multivariate analyses (canonical correspondence analysis (CCA)) and biological indicator analysis were used to examine these patterns. Chironomidae was the most abundant family (>60{\%}) in the upper mainstem river and stream sites. Stream sites were positively associated with CCA axis 2, being characterised by high turbidity and lower pH, salinity, phosphate concentration, channel width and canopy cover. Canopy cover, channel width, substrate embeddedness, phosphate concentration, pH, salinity and turbidity all had a significant effect on macroinvertebrate community composition. Using CCA variation partitioning, water quality was, however, a better predictor of benthic macroinvertebrate composition than sediment chemical conditions. Furthermore, our results suggest that seasonality had little effect on structuring benthic macroinvertebrate communities in this south-eastern zone of South Africa, despite clear changes in sediment chemistry. This likely reflects the relative lack of major variability in water chemistry compared to sediment chemistry between seasons and the relatively muted variability in precipitation between seasons than the more classic Austral temperate climates.",
author = "Tatenda Dalu and Wasserman, {Ryan J.} and Tonkin, {Jonathan D.} and Tongayi Mwedzi and Magoro, {Mandla L.} and Weyl, {Olaf L.F.}",
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Water or sediment? Partitioning the role of water column and sediment chemistry as drivers of macroinvertebrate communities in an austral South African stream. / Dalu, Tatenda; Wasserman, Ryan J.; Tonkin, Jonathan D.; Mwedzi, Tongayi; Magoro, Mandla L.; Weyl, Olaf L.F.

In: Science of the Total Environment, Vol. 607-608, 2017, p. 317-325.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Water or sediment? Partitioning the role of water column and sediment chemistry as drivers of macroinvertebrate communities in an austral South African stream

AU - Dalu, Tatenda

AU - Wasserman, Ryan J.

AU - Tonkin, Jonathan D.

AU - Mwedzi, Tongayi

AU - Magoro, Mandla L.

AU - Weyl, Olaf L.F.

PY - 2017

Y1 - 2017

N2 - Water pollution is a critical management issue, with many rivers and streams draining urban areas being polluted by the disposal of untreated solid waste and wastewater discharge, storm water and agricultural runoff. This has implications for biodiversity, and many rivers in the developing world are now considered compromised. We investigated benthic macroinvertebrate community structure and composition in relation to physico-chemical conditions of the water column and sediments. The study was conducted in an Austral catchment subject to both urban and agricultural pollutants in two different seasons. We assessed whether sediment characteristics were more important drivers of macroinvertebrate community composition than water column characteristics. We expected clear differences in macroinvertebrate community composition and in the associated community metrics due to distinct flow conditions between the two seasons. A combination of multivariate analyses (canonical correspondence analysis (CCA)) and biological indicator analysis were used to examine these patterns. Chironomidae was the most abundant family (>60%) in the upper mainstem river and stream sites. Stream sites were positively associated with CCA axis 2, being characterised by high turbidity and lower pH, salinity, phosphate concentration, channel width and canopy cover. Canopy cover, channel width, substrate embeddedness, phosphate concentration, pH, salinity and turbidity all had a significant effect on macroinvertebrate community composition. Using CCA variation partitioning, water quality was, however, a better predictor of benthic macroinvertebrate composition than sediment chemical conditions. Furthermore, our results suggest that seasonality had little effect on structuring benthic macroinvertebrate communities in this south-eastern zone of South Africa, despite clear changes in sediment chemistry. This likely reflects the relative lack of major variability in water chemistry compared to sediment chemistry between seasons and the relatively muted variability in precipitation between seasons than the more classic Austral temperate climates.

AB - Water pollution is a critical management issue, with many rivers and streams draining urban areas being polluted by the disposal of untreated solid waste and wastewater discharge, storm water and agricultural runoff. This has implications for biodiversity, and many rivers in the developing world are now considered compromised. We investigated benthic macroinvertebrate community structure and composition in relation to physico-chemical conditions of the water column and sediments. The study was conducted in an Austral catchment subject to both urban and agricultural pollutants in two different seasons. We assessed whether sediment characteristics were more important drivers of macroinvertebrate community composition than water column characteristics. We expected clear differences in macroinvertebrate community composition and in the associated community metrics due to distinct flow conditions between the two seasons. A combination of multivariate analyses (canonical correspondence analysis (CCA)) and biological indicator analysis were used to examine these patterns. Chironomidae was the most abundant family (>60%) in the upper mainstem river and stream sites. Stream sites were positively associated with CCA axis 2, being characterised by high turbidity and lower pH, salinity, phosphate concentration, channel width and canopy cover. Canopy cover, channel width, substrate embeddedness, phosphate concentration, pH, salinity and turbidity all had a significant effect on macroinvertebrate community composition. Using CCA variation partitioning, water quality was, however, a better predictor of benthic macroinvertebrate composition than sediment chemical conditions. Furthermore, our results suggest that seasonality had little effect on structuring benthic macroinvertebrate communities in this south-eastern zone of South Africa, despite clear changes in sediment chemistry. This likely reflects the relative lack of major variability in water chemistry compared to sediment chemistry between seasons and the relatively muted variability in precipitation between seasons than the more classic Austral temperate climates.

U2 - 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.06.267

DO - 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.06.267

M3 - Article

VL - 607-608

SP - 317

EP - 325

JO - Science of the Total Environment

JF - Science of the Total Environment

SN - 0048-9697

ER -