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Dams are common habitat barriers which fragment communities. Our study aimed to examine how a low-head dam removal affected macroinvertebrate community structure. We sampled Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, and Trichoptera taxa from five habitats at the site the year before and two years after the dam was removed. Our results indicated that species richness increased from 2014-2016. Using alpha and beta diversity calculations, 2016 communities were significantly greater in evenness (alpha) and increased in similarity between habitats (beta). Taxa were sorted into functional feeding groups and our results indicated that by 2016, scrapers had decreased and predators had increased. In conclusion, habitats were more connected and able to interact with each other by 2016. The amount of species increased, validating the spatial isolation and area affects hypotheses. Functional feeding group analysis demonstrated that there was less detritus in the river and more species diversity. Our results suggest that abandoned low-head dams should be removed, to promote riverine connectivity and biodiversity.

Jane Kunberger (Primary Presenter/Author), University of Alabama,;