There is increased understanding of the role of bryophytes in supporting invertebrate biomass and for their influence on nutrient cycling and carbon balance in aquatic systems, but the structural and functional role of bryophytes growing in seasonally inundated habitats is substantially less studied. We conducted a study on the Middle Oconee River, near Athens, GA, to assess invertebrate abundance and organic-matter retention in seasonally inundated patches of the liverwort Porella pinnata, a species that tends to be submerged only when water levels in rivers are substantially above base flow. Aquatic invertebrate utilization of these seasonally inundated habitats has rarely been investigated. Macroinvertebrate biomass, insect density, and organic-matter content were significantly greater in patches of P. pinnata than on adjacent bare rock. Bryophyte biomass explained additional variation in organic matter, insect biomass, and density. The most abundant insects in P. pinnata patches were Dipterans and Plecopterans. Our results suggest an important structural role of seasonally inundated bryophyte habitats in riverine ecosystems.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Organic-matter retention and macroinvertebrate utilization of seasonally inundated bryophytes in a mid-order Piedmont River|
|Series title||Southeastern Naturalist|
|Publisher||Eagle Hill Institute|
|Contributing office(s)||Patuxent Wildlife Research Center|