Invertebrate communities along a floodplain continuum in the Altamaha River watershed, Georgia
Reese, Elizabeth G
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Recent studies have indicated the importance of river/floodplain interactions in enhancing biological productivity and maintaining diversity in both ecosystems. However, little work has focused on floodplain invertebrate assemblages. The objective of this study was to describe invertebrate assemblages in floodplain wetlands from the headwaters to the lower reaches of a southeastern U.S. watershed, not managed for flood control. We found that floodplain invertebrate communities changed predictably along a longitudinal gradient of river discharge, with headwater floodplains being dominated by terrestrial and rapidly-developing aquatic invertebrates, with the mid-reaches characterized by an influx of invertebrates from the river, and with the lower reaches being dominated by wetland taxa with desiccation resistant stages. This variability in community structure should be taken into account when flood regimes are prescribed in more regulated watersheds.