International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 58, Issue 5, pp 679–690 | Cite as

Distribution of detritivores in tropical forest streams of peninsular Malaysia: role of temperature, canopy cover and altitude variability

  • Md Rawi Che Salmah
  • Salman Abdo Al-ShamiEmail author
  • Ahmad Abu Hassan
  • Madziatul Rosemahanie Madrus
  • Abdul Nurul Huda
Original Paper


The diversity and abundance of macroinvertebrate shredders were investigated in 52 forested streams (local scale) from nine catchments (regional scale) covering a large area of peninsular Malaysia. A total of 10,642 individuals of aquatic macroinvertebrates were collected, of which 18.22 % were shredders. Biodiversity of shredders was described by alpha (αaverage ), beta (β) and gamma diversity (γ) measures. We found high diversity and abundance of shredders in all catchments, represented by 1,939 individuals (range 6–115 and average per site of 37.29 ± 3.48 SE) from 31 taxa with 2–13 taxa per site (αaverage = 6.98 ± 0.33 SE) and 10–15 taxa per catchment (γ = 13.33 ± 0.55 SE). At the local scale, water temperature, stream width, depth and altitude were correlated significantly with diversity (Adj-R 2 = 0.205). Meanwhile, dissolved oxygen, stream velocity, water temperature, stream width and altitude were correlated to shredder abundance (Adj-R 2 = 0.242). At regional scale, however, water temperature was correlated negatively with β and γ diversity (r 2 = 0.161 and 0.237, respectively) as well as abundance of shredders (r 2 = 0.235). Canopy cover was correlated positively with β diversity (r 2 = 0.378) and abundance (r 2 = 0.266), meanwhile altitude was correlated positively with β (quadratic: r 2 = 0.175), γ diversity (quadratic: r 2 = 0.848) as well as abundance (quadratic: r 2 = 0.299). The present study is considered as the first report describing the biodiversity and abundance of shredders in forested headwater streams across a large spatial scale in peninsular Malaysia. We concluded that water temperature has a negative effect while altitude showed a positive relationship with diversity and abundance of shredders. However, it was difficult to detect an influence of canopy cover on shredder diversity.


Shredders Peninsular Malaysia Altitude Canopy cover Temperature 



We would like to thank Hazdri Abdullah, Shukri, Hamzah, Siti Khatijah, Tahir, Wan Zaki , Kalimuthu for their tireless help in the field. To many others who helped us directly or indirectly during this study, we are deemed indebted. We are grateful to the Dean, School of Biological Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia in Penang for providing field and laboratory facilities. We also thank Forest Research Institute Malaysia counterparts headed by Dr Christine Fletcher and Dr Abdul Rahman Kassim, for financial support, help and understanding. The Conservation of Biodiversity (CBioD) Project is a national project executed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, and implemented by the Forest Research Institute Malaysia. The CBioD Project is co-funded by the UNDP-GEF (MAL/04/G3) and ITTO [PD 165 02 Rev.3 (F)]. Key partners to the CBioD Project are: Perak ITC S/B, Perak SEDC, Forestry Headquarters and State Forestry Departments of Peninsular Malaysia. The Project is a joint effort with the University of Miami, Duke University and Harvard University. Thanks to three anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments and suggestions, which all improved this paper significantly.

Supplementary material

484_2013_648_MOESM1_ESM.xls (40 kb)
ESM 1 (XLS 40 kb)


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Copyright information

© ISB 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Md Rawi Che Salmah
    • 1
  • Salman Abdo Al-Shami
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ahmad Abu Hassan
    • 1
  • Madziatul Rosemahanie Madrus
    • 1
  • Abdul Nurul Huda
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesUniversiti Sains MalaysiaPenangMalaysia

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