Henderson, S. (2015). Recovery of macroinvertebrate communities following flood disturbance in urban restored streams, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Unc Charlotte Electronic Theses And Dissertations.
Flooding is an important disturbance structuring stream communities. Understanding macroinvertebrate post flood dynamics is critical for informing key ecosystem processes such as food web dynamics and organic matter processing in these systems. While flooding has been investigated in a diversity of freshwater ecosystems, there are fewer studies focused on urban streams. The overall objective of this research is to quantify changes in macroinvertebrate populations in urban restored streams following flood events. I studied 4 streams in the Charlotte, NC region and monitored macroinvertebrate response to flooding in each stream for 6 storms during 2014-2015. I specifically asked whether macroinvertebrate community metrics are resistant or resilient to flood disturbance. Overall the studied sites were composed of Chironomids, Hydropsychids, Baetidae, and Oligochetes. I found that no sites were resistant to flooding and that the most urban site was the most impacted with a pre/post decrease in abundance of 63%. I also found that the oldest restored site and the forested reference showed similar resilience patterns as determined by how quickly they returned to pre-flood conditions. Similarly, the two younger restored sites had comparable resilience patterns. These data indicate that macroinvertebrate communities in urban streams are highly susceptible to flooding; however, they have the capacity to return to pre-flood conditions. Restored streams have the capacity to develop into communities more similar to urban forested reference sites if given enough time. Understanding these macroinvertebrate dynamics important in creating management schemes for urban restored ecosystems.