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The effects of a thermal discharge on the macroinvertebrate community of a large British river: implications for climate change

Worthington, Thomas, Shaw, P. J., Daffern, J. R. and Langford, T. E. L. 2015. The effects of a thermal discharge on the macroinvertebrate community of a large British river: implications for climate change. Hydrobiologia 753 (1) , pp. 81-95. 10.1007/s10750-015-2197-1

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Anthropogenic changes to the temperature regimes of rivers, whether through thermal pollution, removal of shade, or climate change, could affect community stability and cause phenological changes in aquatic species. This study examines the impact of a thermal discharge from a power station on the diversity and composition of the aquatic macroinvertebrate community in the River Severn, UK. Daily temperatures up to 2 km downstream of the thermal discharge averaged 4.5°C above ambient. Abundance and taxon richness metrics were reduced at a site approximately 0.5 km downstream of the power station outfall, but were largely unaffected at a second site about 2 km downstream. The majority of the macroinvertebrate taxa observed were recorded at both control and heated sites, suggesting species were below their thermal tolerance threshold or had developed adaptations to survive increased temperatures. However, indicator species analysis suggests certain taxa were associated with particular sites; abundances of Musculium lacustre, Simulium reptans, and Orthocladiinae were greater at the unheated control site, whereas more pollution-tolerant species such Asellus aquaticus and Erpobdella octoculata were more common in the thermally impacted reaches. Overall, the results provide an indication of potential species and community response to future warming under climate change scenarios.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history
Publisher: Springer
ISSN: 0018-8158
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 08 May 2023 13:49

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