Seasonal variability in macroinvertebrate communities in paired perennial and intermittent streams in Costa Rica
Hernandez-Abrams, Darixa Desiree
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Streamflow regimes influence the ecological integrity of freshwater ecosystems. The combined effects of global climate change and water abstraction may alter flow regimes causing disturbance in the form of flooding or drying. There is limited information on what these changes will cause to neotropical systems that are at risk of facing extremes in hydrological events. This thesis evaluated the monthly effects of flooding and drying on aquatic macroinvertebrate community compositions from adjacent intermittent and perennial streams in the Pacific North of Costa Rica over a one-year period. Macroinvertebrate communities were different between the two streams and changed seasonally as well. Richness was higher in the intermittent stream during both wet and dry seasons. Taxa that are considered sensitive to flow disturbance declined during both seasons. Our results identify patterns that may be useful to understanding survival strategies and life history traits in neotropical streams of varying flow regimes.