The ecological impact of fine sediments is one of the major causes of ecological degradation affecting lotic systems. Interestingly, many studies have investigated the impact of increased sediment loads on specific compartments of the lotic system, but little or no information is available about the overall impact of sedimentation. Aim of this paper was to analyse the influence of fine sedimentation on allochthonous and autochthonous energy inputs and on the structural and functional characteristics of diatom and macroinvertebrate communities. Data were collected in two Alpine streams in NW Italy, one interested by the presence of an intense mining area and the other pristine, used as a control. The two rivers greatly differed in terms of suspended solids and bed load characteristics. From 10 stations, we analysed main physico-chemical characteristics, fine sediment indicators (using 60 sediment traps), coarse particulate organic matter (CPOM) and photosynthetic pigments amounts, taxonomic and functional characteristics of macroinvertebrate communities. We tested several causal models via path analysis. Functional traits seem to better reflect the integrated impact originating from quarries in the river basin than traditional community metrics like total abundance and specific richness. This outcome was enforced through the co-inertia analysis, which took in consideration also metrics based on diatom communities. Our study yielded quantitative relations between sediment loads induced by quarrying activities and the degree of biological impairment and suggests which metrics are more suitable to assess this specific impact.

Increased sediment loads in alpine streams: an integrated field study

BONA, Francesca
First
;
DORETTO, ALBERTO;FALASCO, Elisa;La Morgia, V.;PIANO, ELENA;AJASSA, Roberto;Fenoglio, S.
2016

Abstract

The ecological impact of fine sediments is one of the major causes of ecological degradation affecting lotic systems. Interestingly, many studies have investigated the impact of increased sediment loads on specific compartments of the lotic system, but little or no information is available about the overall impact of sedimentation. Aim of this paper was to analyse the influence of fine sedimentation on allochthonous and autochthonous energy inputs and on the structural and functional characteristics of diatom and macroinvertebrate communities. Data were collected in two Alpine streams in NW Italy, one interested by the presence of an intense mining area and the other pristine, used as a control. The two rivers greatly differed in terms of suspended solids and bed load characteristics. From 10 stations, we analysed main physico-chemical characteristics, fine sediment indicators (using 60 sediment traps), coarse particulate organic matter (CPOM) and photosynthetic pigments amounts, taxonomic and functional characteristics of macroinvertebrate communities. We tested several causal models via path analysis. Functional traits seem to better reflect the integrated impact originating from quarries in the river basin than traditional community metrics like total abundance and specific richness. This outcome was enforced through the co-inertia analysis, which took in consideration also metrics based on diatom communities. Our study yielded quantitative relations between sediment loads induced by quarrying activities and the degree of biological impairment and suggests which metrics are more suitable to assess this specific impact.
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allochthonous inputs, autochthonous inputs, diatoms, fine sediments, macroinvertebrates, path analysis, rock quarries
F, . BONA; Doretto, A.; Falasco, E.; La Morgia, V.; Piano, E.; Ajassa, R.; Fenoglio, S.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2318/1535308
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