Comparison of benthic macroinvertebrate fauna and substratum composition in riffles and pools in the impounded River Elan and the unregulated River Wye, mid-Wales


R. W. Edwards, Department of Applied Biology. University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology. King Edward VII Avenue. Cardiff. Wales.


SUMMARY. The macro-invertebrate fauna and substrate were studied in a riffle and pool from a regulated (Elan) and an unregulated (Wye) river in summer. There were some differences in the substrate particle size distribution of the two rivers and between the riffle and the pool on the Wye. There was more detritus in pools than in riffles in both rivers and generally more in the Elan than the Wye. Deposits on the bed of the Elan were rich in iron and manganese.

On the Wye. there was a greater density of invertebrates in the riffle than in the pool, but species richness was similar. Most species showed some preferences for either the riffle or the pool. The riffle contained a substantial number of Ephemeroptera, Trichoptera, Plecoptera and Simuliidae (52%) whilst the pool was dominated by chironomids (71%). Compared with the Wye, total invertebrate density and species richness were reduced in the Elan. Some species characteristic of riffles were reduced or absent on the Elan. Invertebrate density on the Elan was similar in the riffle and pool; species richness was greater in the riffle. The distribution and abundance of invertebrates is discussed in relation to such environmental factors as water velocity through the substrate and dissolved oxygen supply in interstitial habitats.