MACROINVERTEBRATES ALONG A STREAM DISCHARGE AND ELEVATIONAL GRADIENT: WHO SURVIVES AND WHO THRIVES IN SMALL MOUNTAIN STREAMS
Small streams frequently go overlooked in stream ecology but can contribute to regional biodiversity of macroinvertebrates. Headwater streams fall along a gradient of stream discharge, ranging from streams with widths of several meters to small streams with widths well under a meter. The size of streams described as small varies drastically between studies, and the smallest streams unable of housing fish are often omitted. In the summer of 2016, macroinvertebrates were sampled throughout the summer season from 17 headwater streams in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, ranging in elevation from 2000 to 3000 meters. The average width of these streams ranged from over 4 meters to 40 centimeters. The pattern of taxon richness and functional trait diversity was then examined along the discharge gradient and compared between sites at higher and lower elevations. With climate change predictions forecasting less snowfall and earlier snowmelt in many mountainous areas, it is more important than ever to understand the communities of these small streams as other streams begin to decrease in size.
M Holliday Lafferty (Primary Presenter/Author), Colorado State University , firstname.lastname@example.org;