Effects of sea lamprey substrate modification and carcass nutrients on macroinvertebrate assemblages in a small Atlantic coastal stream

Journal of Freshwater Ecology
By: , and 

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Abstract

Aquatic macroinvertebrates respond to patch dynamics arising from interactions of physical and chemical disturbances across space and time. Anadromous fish, such as sea lamprey, Petromyzon marinus, migrate from the ocean and alter physical and chemical properties of recipient spawning streams. Sea lamprey disturb stream benthos physically through nest construction and spawning, and enrich food webs through nutrient deposition from decomposing carcasses. Sea lamprey spawning nests support greater macroinvertebrate abundance than adjacent reference areas, but concurrent effects of stream bed modification and nutrient supplementation have not been examined sequentially. We added carcasses and cleared substrate experimentally to mimic the physical disturbance and nutrient enrichment associated with lamprey spawning, and characterized effects on macroinvertebrate assemblage structure. We found that areas receiving cleared substrate and carcass nutrients were colonized largely by Simuliidae compared to upstream and downstream control areas that were colonized largely by Hydropsychidae, Philopotamidae, and Chironomidae. Environmental factors such as stream flow likely shape assemblages by physically constraining macroinvertebrate establishment and feeding. Our results indicate potential changes in macroinvertebrate assemblages from the physical and chemical changes to streams brought by spawning populations of sea lamprey.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Effects of sea lamprey substrate modification and carcass nutrients on macroinvertebrate assemblages in a small Atlantic coastal stream
Series title Journal of Freshwater Ecology
DOI 10.1080/02705060.2017.1417168
Volume 33
Issue 1
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Leetown
Description 12 p.
First page 19
Last page 30
Country United States
State Maine