Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

The effect of agriculture on cave-stream invertebrate communities

Pierce M. McNie A B and Russell G. Death A

A Institute of Agriculture and Environment – Ecology, Massey University, Private Bag 11-222, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand.

B Corresponding author. Email: p.mcnie477@gmail.com

Marine and Freshwater Research - https://doi.org/10.1071/MF16112
Submitted: 5 April 2016  Accepted: 20 January 2017   Published online: 10 April 2017

Abstract

The impacts that land-use changes have on cave-stream fauna have not been considered widely in the investigations of land-use impacts on stream ecology. The present study examines how above-ground agriculture may influence cave-stream invertebrate communities. The invertebrate communities in four cave streams and their surface counterparts were sampled in 2014–2015, including two drained predominantly agricultural catchments and two drained forested catchments. These communities were examined alongside habitat and GIS land-use data to determine the relationship between above-ground land use and the stream communities. Invertebrate community composition and ecological health for surface streams was different between the agricultural and forest catchments. These differences were less pronounced within the cave-stream communities. Sedimentation was the principal agricultural stressor in the cave streams. The overall effects of agriculture were lower within the cave streams than on the surface; this is likely to be due to the reduced number of potentially deleterious stressors on cave streams.

Additional keywords: cave, sedimentation, New Zealand, stream invertebrates.


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