Macroinvertebrate community compositional dynamics of a Missouri prairie stream

Monday, June 1, 2015
Big Basin (Manhattan Conference Center)
Jessica Warwick , University of Missouri, Columbia, MO
Prairie streams often exhibit intermittency in flow, a phenomenon that is predicted to occur in many other aquatic systems with the onset of global climate change.  Since prairies streams are among the least studied of all aquatic systems, our study aimed to expand our understanding of the community dynamics of this system and, specifically, to explore the seasonal patterns of macroinvertebrate communities and the corresponding environmental gradients in a prairie headwater stream.  Macroinvertebrate samples and corresponding environmental measures were collected from two distinct mesohabitats of one headwater prairie stream from the onset of stream flow to the end of flow weekly during spring of 2014 and identified to the lowest practical taxonomic level.  Nonmetric multidimensional scaling (NMS) was used to find the main gradients present in the environmental data and multi-response permutation procedure (MRPP) was used to verify the natural groupings evident in the ordination.  Preliminary NMS results from the riffle dataset revealed two strong gradients in the data that account for a total of 77% of the variation in the original data set.  The sampling dates separated into three natural groupings corresponding to early, mid, and late spring.  This grouping was confirmed by an MRPP (p<0.0005).  These results indicate that a distinct seasonal pattern exists for both the macroinvertebrate community composition and the environmental characteristics of the prairie stream.  This pattern should be taken into account when choosing sampling dates for activities such as water quality monitoring and diversity surveys when working in systems with intermittent flow.