The Biota of Intermittent Rivers and Ephemeral Streams: Aquatic Invertebrates

Rachel Stubbington, Michael T. Bogan, Núria Bonada, Andrew J. Boulton, Thibault Datry, Catherine Leigh, Ross Vander Vorste

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

81 Scopus citations


Intermittent rivers and ephemeral streams (IRES) support diverse and sometimes distinctive aquatic invertebrate communities. Although flow intermittence has been linked to reduced taxa richness, the highly variable environmental conditions that characterize IRES can enhance both taxonomic and functional diversity, with different invertebrates characterizing flowing, pool, dry, and flow-resumption phases. Aquatic invertebrate communities, which include specialist taxa, have a diverse range of adaptations to promote their survival in the pools and dry bed sediments that characterize IRES channels during nonflowing phases. These tolerant organisms and recolonists from outside of IRES channels allow communities to recover once flow resumes. IRES invertebrate communities have been affected by human activity, especially where flow regimes have been altered by climate change, water resource pressures, and changing land use. Restoration initiatives, from riparian revegetation projects to conservation strategies that protect individual species, are therefore needed to safeguard aquatic invertebrate community diversity in IRES.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationIntermittent Rivers and Ephemeral Streams
Subtitle of host publicationEcology and Management
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9780128039045
ISBN (Print)9780128038352
StatePublished - Jul 19 2017


  • Adaptation
  • Altered hydrology
  • Conservation strategies
  • Drought
  • Freshwater invertebrates
  • Functional diversity
  • Resilience
  • Resistance
  • River restoration
  • Taxonomic diversity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science


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