• spatial heterogeneity;
  • scale;
  • aquatic habitat diversity;
  • community traits;
  • re-colonization, benthic macroinvertebrates


  • 1.
    In certain lower mountainous regions of Germany multiple-channel streams constitute the reference condition for stream restoration and conservation efforts. An increasing number of restoration projects re-establish such stream sections, but their impact on macroinvertebrate communities remains vague and needs further elaboration.
  • 2.
    Seven pairs of single- and multiple-channel sections of mountain rivers were compared in terms of hydromorphology and macroinvertebrate communities. The stream sections were characterized by 16 hydromorphological metrics at various scales, e.g. shore length, channel feature or substrate diversity, flow variability and substrate coverage. Macroinvertebrate data were obtained from 140 substrate-specific samples, which were combined to form representative communities for each section. Community data were subject to similarity and cluster analyses. Thirty-five metrics were calculated with the taxa lists, including number of taxa, abundance, feeding type, habitat and current preferences.
  • 3.
    Bray–Curtis similarity was very high (69–77%) between communities of single- and multiple-channel sections. Biological metrics were correlated with hydromorphological parameters. Mean Spearman rank r was 0.59 (absolute values). The biological metrics percentage of the community preferring submerged vegetation, being grazers and scrapers or active filter feeders, percentage of epipotamal preference and the percentage of current preference (rheo- to limnophil and rheobiont) were significantly correlated with hydromorphological parameters.
  • 4.
    Differences between stream sections can be attributed to single taxa occurring only in either the single- or multiple-channel sections. These exclusive taxa were mainly found on organic substrates such as living parts of terrestrial plants, large wood, coarse particulate organic matter (CPOM) and mud. Reasons for high similarity of macroinvertebrate communities from single- or multiple-channel sections are discussed, including the influence of large-scale catchment pressures, length of restored sections and lack of potential re-colonizers.

Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.