, Volume 632, Issue 1, pp 329–339 | Cite as

Macrophyte beds contribute disproportionately to benthic invertebrate abundance and biomass in a sand plains stream

Primary research paper


Macrophyte beds have been shown to influence organic matter retention and nutrient processing in streams. Less is known about the extent to which plant beds contribute to abundance, biomass, and diversity of macroinvertebrate assemblages in low-order streams. We measured aquatic invertebrate abundance, biomass, and diversity associated with plant beds and sand/gravel patches in a low-gradient second-order stream in the Central Sand Plains of Wisconsin, USA from March to October. Invertebrate abundance and biomass were higher on average in plant beds (2,552 m−2 and 1,575 mg m−2) than in sand/gravel patches (893 m−2 and 486 mg m−2). Although sand/gravel habitat was over three times more abundant than plant beds in the study reach, plant beds and sand/gravel patches contributed similarly to invertebrate abundance and biomass at the whole-reach scale. The abundance and biomass of invertebrates associated with plant beds decreased from spring to autumn. Non-insect invertebrates in the plant beds increased in relative abundance as the year progressed. Shannon–Weiner diversity and taxa richness of invertebrates were higher in the plant beds than in the sand/gravel habitat. Our results suggest that plant beds can represent hot spots for invertebrate abundance and production in low-gradient streams, and have implications for stream management and restoration in these types of ecosystems.


Macrophytes Streams Benthic invertebrates Scaling Assemblage 



This project was generously funded through a University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Collaborative Grant and by the Central Wisconsin Chapter of Trout Unlimited through the Bill Beck Memorial Scholarship. We thank two anonymous reviewers for many helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biology and MicrobiologyUniversity of Wisconsin OshkoshOshkoshUSA
  2. 2.Wisconsin Department of Natural ResourcesWaukeshaUSA

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