TitleQuantifying invertebrate resistance to floods: a global-scale meta-analysis
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsMcMullen, LE, Lytle, DA
JournalEcological Applications
Type of ArticleJournal Article

Floods are a key component of the ecology and management of riverine ecosystems around the globe, but it is not clear whether floods have predictable effects on organisms that can allow us to generalize across regions and continents. To address this, we conducted a global-scale meta-analysis to investigate effects of natural and managed floods on invertebrate resistance, the ability of invertebrates to survive flood events. We considered 994 studies for inclusion in the analysis, and after evaluation based on a priori criteria, narrowed our analysis to 41 studies spanning six of the seven continents. We used the natural-log-ratio of invertebrate abundance before and within 10 days after flood events because this measure of effect size can be directly converted to estimates of percent survival. We conducted categorical and continuous analyses that examined the contribution of environmental and study design variables to effect size heterogeneity, and examined differences in effect size among taxonomic groups. We found that invertebrate abundance was lowered by at least one-half after flood events. While natural vs. managed floods were similar in their effect, effect size differed among habitat and substrate types, with pools, sand, and boulders experiencing the strongest effect. Although sample sizes were not sufficient to examine all taxonomic groups, floods had a significant, negative effect on densities of Coleoptera, Eumalacostraca, Annelida, Ephemeroptera, Diptera, Plecoptera, and Trichoptera. Results from this study provide guidance for river flow regime prescriptions that will be applicable across continents and climate types, as well as baseline expectations for future empirical studies of freshwater disturbance.

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