The effect of habitat restoration on macroinvertebrate communities in Shaoxi rivers, China

Qiaoyan Lin, Yixin Zhang*, Rob Marrs, Raju Sekar, Naicheng Wu, Xin Luo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In recent decades, the biodiversity of freshwater environments has decreased sharply due to anthropogenic disturbances that damaged ecosystem structures and functions. Habitat restoration has emerged as an important method to mitigate the degradation of river ecosystems. Although in many cases a post-project monitoring has been promoted to access the restoration progress, it is still unclear how aquatic community changes following river habitat restoration in China. Macroinvertebrate communities intermediately positioned within ecosystem food webs play a key role in ecosystem processes within river ecosystem, driving energy flow and nutrient cycling. Here, benthic macroinvertebrates are used as bio-indicators to assess the ecosystem health of degraded urban rivers, restored urban rivers, and undisturbed rivers. This study aims to determine (i) how habitat restoration influences macroinvertebrates diversity and how this compared to degraded and reference conditions; (ii) how did macroinvertebrate community compositions differ in restored, degraded, and reference sites; and (iii) the environmental factors shaping macroinvertebrate communities. Habitat restoration significantly increased the diversity and richness of macroinvertebrate community and intolerant species and shifted the community composition towards reference status. Habitat characteristics and water chemistry, including substrate diversity, water velocity, and both nutrients (TN) and organic pollutants (TOC), appeared to shape the turnover of these communities. Habitat characteristics contributed to most of the variation of the entire macroinvertebrate community. Our research indicates that habitat restoration is an efficient approach to restore the aquatic community and hence improve river ecosystem health for freshwater conservation and sustainable management in Zhejiang province. This study strengthens our understanding of the changes of macroinvertebrate community after habitat restoration and important controlling variables that attribute to these changes, which provides an important guidance for future freshwater management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)677-689
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Volume29
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

Keywords

  • Bio-indicator
  • China
  • Habitat restoration
  • Macroinvertebrate community compositions
  • Monitoring
  • River ecosystem
  • Zhejiang Province

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