Collier, K.J. & Clements, B.L. (2010). Influences of catchment and corridor imperviousness on urban stream macroinvertebrate communities at multiple spatial scales. Hydrobiologia, published online 24 December 2010.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/5036
Resolving land cover hierarchy relationships in urban settings is important for defining the scale and type of management required to enhance stream health. We investigated associations between macroinvertebrate assemblages in urban streams of Hamilton, New Zealand, and environmental variables measured at multiple spatial scales comprising (i) local-scale physicochemical conditions, (ii) impervious area in multiple stream corridor widths (30, 50 and 100 m) along segments (sections of stream between tributary nodes) and for entire upstream networks, and (iii) total impervious area in stream segment sub-catchments and upstream catchments. Imperviousness was higher for stream segment subcatchments than for entire catchments because of the agricultural headwaters of some urban streams. Imperviousness declined as corridor width declined at both segment and catchment scales reflecting the vegetated cover along most urban stream gullies. Upstream catchment imperviousness was strongly and inversely correlated with dissolved organic carbon concentration, whereas segment and upstream corridor scales were correlated with water temperature and pH. Corridor imperviousness appeared to be a stronger predictor than catchment imperviousness of Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera and Trichoptera taxa richness and the Quantitative Urban Community Index specifically developed to assess impacts of urbanisation. In contrast, imperviousness at all measured scales added only marginal improvement in assemblage-based models over that provided by the local-scale physicochemical variables of reach width, habitat quality, macrophyte cover, pH and dissolved oxygen concentration. These findings infer variable scales of influence affecting macroinvertebrate communities in urban streams and suggest that it may be important to consider local and corridor factors when determining mechanisms of urbanisation impacts and potential management options.