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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Wildlife and Fisheries Science

First Advisor

Walter G. Duffy


macroinvertebrate, habitats, warmwater streams, james river, south dakota


This study was conducted to gather information regarding aquatic macroinvertebrate habitat in the middle James River. Macroinvertebrate abundance, standing stock biomass, and production were quantified and compared among major instream habitats at two widely separated river sites. Three habitats that dominated the total substrate available for macroinvertebrate colonization were sampled: snags (fallen trees and woody debris), rock (areas of stony substrata), and mud (areas lacking instream features with streambeds consisting of fine unconsolidated sediments). Sampling stations were established in areas where instream habitat was dominated by a single habitat feature (e.g. snag, rock, mud). Both river sites contained three stations from which sampling was conducted every three weeks from May 1990 through October 1990. The size-frequency method was applied to individual taxa to determine total macroinvertebrate community production. Total macroinvertebrate densities, standing stock biomass, and production were much higher on snags than in rock or mud benthos. Mean annual densities of total macroinvertebrates ranged from 56,761 m2 on snags to 12,279 m2 in rock substrates. Abundant taxa varied among the three habitats. Glyptotendipes spp. (Chironomidae), Cyrne/lus .fraternus (frichoptera), and Naididae predominated on snags while Caenis spp. ( Ephemeroptera), chironomids, and oligochaetes predominated in rock habitats. The mud benthos was dominated numerically by Dero spp. (Oligochaeta), immature Tubificidae and Procladius spp. (Chironomidae). Mean annual standing stock biomass ranged from 4.4 g DM m2 on snags to 1.0 g DM m2 in mud substrates. Numerically abundant taxa made up most of the biomass in each habitat. However, Anodonta grandis (Pelecypoda) was an important contributor to the biomass of the rock benthos and Chironomus spp. ( Chironomidae) made up much of the biomass in the mud benthos. Mean annual production on snags (329.8 g DM m2 yr1) was far greater than in rock (46.0 g DM m2 yr1) or mud (46.2 g DM m2 yr1) benthos. On a substrate surface area basis, standing stock biomass on snags was only 1.3-3.1 times higher than in rock habitat and 4.3-4.5 times higher than in mud habitat. Production on snags was 5.2-12.2 times higher than in the benthic habitats, with higher annual P/B in the former. The production estimates for snag habitat are among the highest yet reported for lotic ecosystems, and it appears that production on snags is limited by available substrate. Relative density, biomass, and production for each habitat for a stretch of river was approximated. Although snag habitat accounted for only 1 % of the effective habitat substrate over a stretch of river, it was responsible for 5.4-8.7% of production. Taxa within each habitat were categorized by functional feeding groups, and habitat-specific functional groupings were evaluated using numbers, biomass, and production. Shredders predominated on snags and gathering collectors in benthic habitats. When corrected for habitat abundance, community structure consisted primarily of gathering collectors and to a lesser extent predators. As a high-order (> 6) stream, the distribution of biomass or production among functional groups in the James River resembles that predicted by the River Continuum Concept, having a high percentage of collectors. However, the dominance by shredders on snags strongly suggests that allochthonous materials are an important food source, and that limitations imposed by availability of snags determines the composition of the macroinvertebrate community. Results of this study suggest that efforts should be taken to preserve instream features and habitat diversity in warmwater streams. Special consideration also should be given to the protection of streamside forests.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Freshwater invertebrates -- Habitat -- James River (N.D. and S.D.)
Stream ecology -- James River (N.D. and S.D.)


Includes bibliographical references (page 72-80)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 1995 David G. Schumacher. All rights reserved.