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

Effect of key water quality variables on macroinvertebrate and fish communities within naturally acidic wallum streams

Aleicia Holland A C , Leo J. Duivenvoorden A and Susan H. W. Kinnear B

A School of Medical and Applied Sciences, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, Qld 4702, Australia.

B Division of Industry, Vocational Training and Access Education, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, Qld 4702, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email: a.holland@cqu.edu.au

Marine and Freshwater Research 66(1) 50-59 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MF13285
Submitted: 28 October 2013  Accepted: 17 April 2014   Published: 24 October 2014

Abstract

Adverse impacts of acidification on aquatic biota have been observed worldwide; however, most reports are based on fresh waters acidified by anthropogenic means. By contrast, naturally low pH values may not affect biota within naturally acidic fresh waters. This field study provides information on the water quality, macroinvertebrate and fish communities in little-studied, naturally acidic wallum streams in Central Queensland, Australia. Mid-range pH sites (pH 5–6) were compared with low pH sites (pH 5–3.8) to investigate the effect of pH and other key water quality variables on these communities. Field data indicated that pH had less of an effect in these systems in terms of biotic changes compared with other water quality variables, with dissolved oxygen (% saturation) identified as the key driver for changes in macroinvertebrate composition. Fish were present at all sites, including those with pH <4. Several possible explanations for this lack of pH effect are discussed. These results provide support for the reduced importance of acidity, relative to other water quality parameters, in naturally acidic waters. The work also provides baseline data on the biota of little-studied wallum streams.

Additional keywords: acid, blackwater, freshwater biota, humic.


References

Adalberto, L. V., Gonzalez, R. J., Wood, C. M., Wilson, R. W., Patrick, M. L., Bergman, H. L., and Narahara, A. (1998). Effects of water pH and calcium concentration on ion balance in fish of the Rio Negro, Amazon. Physiological Zoology 71, 15–22.
Effects of water pH and calcium concentration on ion balance in fish of the Rio Negro, Amazon.CrossRef | open url image1

Allen, G. R., Midgley, S. H., and Allen, M. (2002). ‘Field Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Australia.’ (Western Australian Museum: Perth.)

APHA (1998). ‘Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater.’ 20th Edn. (APHA: Washington.)

Arthington, A. H., Burtin, H. B., Williams, R. W., and Outridge, P. M. (1986). Ecology of humic and non-humic dune lakes, Fraser Island, with emphasis on the effects of sand infilling in Lake Wabby. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 37, 743–764.
Ecology of humic and non-humic dune lakes, Fraser Island, with emphasis on the effects of sand infilling in Lake Wabby.CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DyaL2sXks1Chu7Y%3D&md5=f4c048c473b824470a8ac06d30bf9213CAS | open url image1

AusRivAS (2001). ‘Australian-wide Assessment of River Health: Queensland AusRivAS Sampling and Processing Manual.’ (Department of Natural Resources and Mines, Environment Australia: Canberra.)

Bayly, I. A. E., Edsworth, E. P., and Wan, H. F. (1975). Studies on the lakes of Fraser Island, Queensland. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 26, 1–13.
Studies on the lakes of Fraser Island, Queensland.CrossRef | open url image1

Chessman, B. (2003). ‘SIGNAL 2.iv, A Scoring System for Macroinvertebrates (‘Water Bugs’) in Australian Rivers.’ Monitoring River Health Initiative Technical Report no. 31, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra.

Clarke, K. R., and Gorley, R. N. (2006). ‘PRIMER v6: User Manual/Tutorial.’ (PRIMER-E, Plymouth)

Collier, K. J., Ball, O. J., Graesser, A. K., Main, M. R., and Winterbourn, M. J. (1990). Do organic and anthropogenic acidity have similar effects on aquatic fauna? Oikos 59, 33–38.
Do organic and anthropogenic acidity have similar effects on aquatic fauna?CrossRef | open url image1

Connolly, N. M., Crossland, M. R., and Pearson, R. G. (2004). Effect of low dissolved oxygen on survival, emergence, and drift of tropical stream macroinvertebrates. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 23, 251–270.
Effect of low dissolved oxygen on survival, emergence, and drift of tropical stream macroinvertebrates.CrossRef | open url image1

Cranston, P. S., and Edward, D. H. D. (1992). A systematic reappraisal of the Australian Aphroteniinae (Diptera: Chironomidae) with dating from vicariance biogeography. Systematic Entomology 17, 41–54.
A systematic reappraisal of the Australian Aphroteniinae (Diptera: Chironomidae) with dating from vicariance biogeography.CrossRef | open url image1

Dangles, O., Malmqvist, B., and Laudon, H. (2004). Naturally acid freshwater ecosystems are diverse and functional: Evidence from boreal streams. Oikos 104, 149–155.
Naturally acid freshwater ecosystems are diverse and functional: Evidence from boreal streams.CrossRef | open url image1

Dean, J. C., Clair, R. M. S., and Cartwright, D. I. (2004). ‘Identification keys to Australian Families and Genera of Caddis-Fly Larvae (Trichoptera).’ (Cooperative Research Centre for Freshwater Ecology: Thurgoona, NSW, Australia).

DiDonato, G., Summers, J. K., and Roush, T. (2003). Assessing the Ecological Condition of a Coastal Plain Watershed Using a Probabilistic Survey Design. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 85, 1–21.
Assessing the Ecological Condition of a Coastal Plain Watershed Using a Probabilistic Survey Design.CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DC%2BD3sXivFynurk%3D&md5=ae2d5ec32b00069f13662d415d586eedCAS | 12807254PubMed | open url image1

DPI (2005). Oxleyan pygmy perch recovery plan. Nelson Bay, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Fisheries Management Branch.

Duivenvoorden, L. J., Hamilton, D., Price, M., and Attard, T. (1999). Temporal Variation of macroinvertebrate Communities of Impounded and Riverine Sites in Central Queensland. In ‘River Health in the Fitzroy Catchment’, Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Rockhampton.

Duivenvoorden, L. J., Price, M. D., Noble, R. N., and Carroll, C. (2003). Assessment of ecological risk associated with irrigation in the Fitzroy Basin: Phase 2 – Analysis and characterisation of risk with emphasis on effects on macroinvertebrates. Project No UCQ3: Final Report to Land and Water Australia, Australia.

Duivenvoorden, L. J., Houston, W., Kinnear, S., Black, R., Goedee, A., Stitz, L., Rosin, C., Black, L., and Lowry, R. (2008). Ecological considerations of spray control for Hymenachne. In ‘Ecological, economic and social considerations of spray control for Hymenachne’. Full technical report prepared for Land and Water Australia, Australia.

Gonzalez, R. J., and Preest, M. (1999). Mechanisms for exceptional tolerance of ion-poor, acidic waters in the neon tetra (Paracheirodon innesi). Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 72, 156–163.
Mechanisms for exceptional tolerance of ion-poor, acidic waters in the neon tetra (Paracheirodon innesi).CrossRef | 1:STN:280:DyaK1M7nsVWmtw%3D%3D&md5=74a4d19b7b889ff068980bc76bbf0bb9CAS | 10068618PubMed | open url image1

Gonzalez, R. J., Wilson, R. W., Wood, C. M., Patrick, M. L., and Val, A. L. (2002). Diverse strategies for ion regulation in fish collected from the ion-poor, acidic Rio Negro. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 75, 37–47.
Diverse strategies for ion regulation in fish collected from the ion-poor, acidic Rio Negro.CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DC%2BD38XmslOltro%3D&md5=3e2540ef622c812de3c318a6ce286362CAS | 11880976PubMed | open url image1

Gooderham, J., and Tsyrlin, E. (2005). ‘The Waterbug Book.’ (CSIRO Publishing: Melbourne.)

Greig, H. S., Niyogi, D. K., Hogsden, K. L., Jellyman, P. G., and Harding, J. S. (2010). Heavy metals: Confounding factors in the response of New Zealand freshwater fish assemblages to natural and anthropogenic acidity. The Science of the Total Environment 408, 3240–3250.
Heavy metals: Confounding factors in the response of New Zealand freshwater fish assemblages to natural and anthropogenic acidity.CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DC%2BC3cXntlOitr0%3D&md5=97ff9ec5ba3ff0f8947364d94d461e09CAS | 20478612PubMed | open url image1

Havas, M., and Rosseland, B. (1995). Response of zooplankton, benthos, and fish to acidification: An overview. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution 85, 51–62.
Response of zooplankton, benthos, and fish to acidification: An overview.CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DyaK28XhvVajsL8%3D&md5=ea87f019302d84de73451ae77887d1ceCAS | open url image1

Hawking, J., and Theischinger, G. (1999). ‘Dragonfly larvae (Odonata): A guide to the identification of larvae of Australian families abd identification and ecology of larvae from New South Wales.’ (Cooperative Research Centre for Freshwater Ecology, Thurgonga, NSW, Australia)

Hawkins, P. R., Taplin, L. E., Duivenvoorden, L. J., and Scott, F. (1988). Limnology of oligotrophic dune lakes at Cape Flattery. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 39, 535–553.
Limnology of oligotrophic dune lakes at Cape Flattery.CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DyaL1MXmtlaktw%3D%3D&md5=78f5d01cb3912c6fd2c8b993edec52d0CAS | open url image1

Holland, A., Duivenvoorden, L. J., and Kinnear, S. H. W. (2012). Naturally acidic waterways: conceptual food webs for better management and understanding of ecological functioning. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 22, 836–847.
Naturally acidic waterways: conceptual food webs for better management and understanding of ecological functioning.CrossRef | open url image1

Holland, A., Duivenvoorden, L. J., and Kinnear, S. H. W. (2013a). The double edged sword of humic substances: contrasting their effect on respiratory stress in eastern rainbow fish exposed to low pH. Environmental Science and Pollution Research International , .
The double edged sword of humic substances: contrasting their effect on respiratory stress in eastern rainbow fish exposed to low pH.CrossRef | 23975710PubMed | open url image1

Holland, A., Duivenvoorden, L. J., and Kinnear, S. H. W. (2013b). Humic substances increase the survivorship rates of freshwater shrimp exposed to acidified waters of varying hardness. Annals of Environmental Science 7, 49–58.
| 1:CAS:528:DC%2BC3sXhtlajsrfI&md5=c9bb93621c8dcca57e8d18d412c44536CAS | open url image1

Houston, W. A., and Duivenvoorden, L. J. (2002). Replacement of littoral native vegetation with the ponded pasture grass Hymenachne amplexicaulis: effects on plant, macroinvertebrate and fish biodiversity of backwaters in the Fitzroy River, Central Queensland, Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research 53, 1235–1244.
Replacement of littoral native vegetation with the ponded pasture grass Hymenachne amplexicaulis: effects on plant, macroinvertebrate and fish biodiversity of backwaters in the Fitzroy River, Central Queensland, Australia.CrossRef | open url image1

Kaller, M. D., and Kelso, W. E. (2007). Association of macroinvertebrate assemblages with dissolved oxygen concentration and wood surface area in selected subtropical streams of the southeastern USA. Aquatic Ecology 41, 95–110.
Association of macroinvertebrate assemblages with dissolved oxygen concentration and wood surface area in selected subtropical streams of the southeastern USA.CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DC%2BD2sXotVWhug%3D%3D&md5=debade042711eaa2fa3808a85942d90cCAS | open url image1

Knight, J. T., and Arthington, A. H. (2008). Distribution and habitat associations of the endangered Oxleyan pygmy perch, Nannoperca oxleyana Whitley, in eastern Australia. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 18, 1240–1254.
Distribution and habitat associations of the endangered Oxleyan pygmy perch, Nannoperca oxleyana Whitley, in eastern Australia.CrossRef | open url image1

Knight, J. T., Arthington, A. H., Holder, G. S., and Talbot, R. B. (2012). Conservation biology and management of the endangered Oxleyan pygmy perch Nannoperca oxleyana in Australia. Endangered Species Research 17, 169–178.
Conservation biology and management of the endangered Oxleyan pygmy perch Nannoperca oxleyana in Australia.CrossRef | open url image1

Kullberg, A. (1992). Benthic macroinvertebrate community structure in 20 streams of varying pH and humic content. Environmental Pollution 78, 103–106.
Benthic macroinvertebrate community structure in 20 streams of varying pH and humic content.CrossRef | 1:STN:280:DC%2BD2c7psFGrsQ%3D%3D&md5=1473d6298ca60ff216a186e88c4a9f40CAS | 15091934PubMed | open url image1

Kullberg, A., Bishop, K., Hargeby, A., Jansson, M., and Petersen, R. (1993). The ecological significance of dissolved organic carbon in acidified waters. Ambio 22, 331–337. open url image1

McFarland, B., Carse, F., and Sandin, L. (2010). Littoral macroinvertebrates as indicators of lake acidification within the UK. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 20, S105–S116. open url image1

Meyer, E., Hero, J. M., Shoo, L., and Lewis, B. (2006). National recovery plan for the wallum sedgefrog and other wallum-dependent frog species. Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Brisbane.

Moe, S. J., Schartau, A. K., BÆKken, T., and McFarland, B. (2010). Assessing macroinvertebrate metrics for classifying acidified rivers across northern Europe. Freshwater Biology 55, 1382–1404.
Assessing macroinvertebrate metrics for classifying acidified rivers across northern Europe.CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DC%2BC3cXpsFSis7g%3D&md5=2499f73c591d24914350c5504e31404aCAS | open url image1

Otto, C., and Svensson, B. S. (1983). Properties of acid brown water streams in South Sweden. Archiv fuer Hydrobiologie 99, 15–36.
| 1:CAS:528:DyaL2cXntlGlsw%3D%3D&md5=95e7ded4666667bebba95ca1409759b0CAS | open url image1

Petrin, Z., Englund, G., and Malmqvist, B. (2008a). Contrasting effects of anthropogenic and natural acidity in streams a meta-analysis. Proceedings of the Royal Society Biological Science 275, 1143–1148. open url image1

Petrin, Z., Laudon, H., and Malmqvist, B. (2008b). Diverging effects of anthropogenic acidification and natural acidity on community structure in Swedish streams. The Science of the Total Environment 394, 321–330.
Diverging effects of anthropogenic acidification and natural acidity on community structure in Swedish streams.CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DC%2BD1cXjs1alurY%3D&md5=e174507e5bb7a7bf7f9e7afbb12e4319CAS | 18299145PubMed | open url image1

Ponder, W. (2001). An Introduction to the Taxonomy of Australian Freshwater Gastropods. Taxonomy Workshop Notes No. 2. Cooperative Research Centre for Freshwater Ecology, Albury, NSW, Australia.

Posa, M. R. C., Wijedasa, L. S., and Corlett, R. T. (2011). Biodiversity and conservation of tropical peat swamp forests. Bioscience 61, 49–57.
Biodiversity and conservation of tropical peat swamp forests.CrossRef | open url image1

Pusey, B., Kennard, M., and Arthington, A. (2004). ‘Freshwater Fishes of North-Eastern Australia.’ (CSIRO Publishing: Melbourne.)

Renwick, J. (2006). Population structure and genetic diversity of southeast Queensland populations of the wallum froglet, Crinia tinnula. PhD Thesis, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane.

Steinberg, C. E. W., Saul, N., Pietsch, K., Meinelt, T., Rienau, S., and Menzel, R. (2007). Dissolved humic substance facilitate fish life in extreme aquatic environments and have the potential to extend the lifespan of Caenorhabditis elegans. Annals of Environmental Science 1, 81–90.
| 1:CAS:528:DC%2BD2sXhtlWlur%2FP&md5=f5157b967782812e2317844fae9ea04cCAS | open url image1

Thurman, E. M. (1986). ‘Organic Geochemistry of Natural Waters.’ (Martinus Nijhoff/Dr W. Junk Publishers, Dordrecht)

Timms, B. V. (1982). Coastal dune waterbodies of north-eastern New South Wales (Newcastle, Tweed Heads). Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 33, 203–222.
Coastal dune waterbodies of north-eastern New South Wales (Newcastle, Tweed Heads).CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DyaL38XhvVKrtb0%3D&md5=baac881796e2d66bce34e2ccdb1604acCAS | open url image1

Vangenechten, J. H. D. (1983). Acidification in west-European lakes and physiological adaptation to acid stress in natural inhabitants of acid lakes. Water Quality Bulletin 8, 150–155.
| 1:CAS:528:DyaL3sXkslKnur0%3D&md5=0e6b0ae7ccc77ea9f6691505c00e01a2CAS | open url image1

Walsh, C. J. (1997). A multivariate method for determining optimal subsample size in the analysis of macroinvertebrate samples. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 48, 241–248.
A multivariate method for determining optimal subsample size in the analysis of macroinvertebrate samples.CrossRef | open url image1

Wetzel, R. (2001). ‘ Limnology, Lake and River Ecosystems.’ (Academic Press, San Diego, CA.)

Williams, W. D. (1980). ‘Australian Freshwater Life.’ (Macmillan Education Australia: Melbourne.)

Winterbourn, M. J., and Collier, K. J. (1987). Distribution of benthic invertebrates in acid, brown water streams in the South Island of New Zealand. Hydrobiologia 153, 277–286.
Distribution of benthic invertebrates in acid, brown water streams in the South Island of New Zealand.CrossRef | open url image1

Wood, C. M., Matsuo, A. Y. O., Gonzalez, R. J., Wilson, R. W., Patrick, M. L., and Val, A. L. (2002). Mechanisms of ion transport in Potamotrygon, a stenohaline freshwater elasmobranch native to the ion-poor blackwaters of the Rio Negro. The Journal of Experimental Biology 205, 3039–3054.
| 1:CAS:528:DC%2BD38XovVWhtbs%3D&md5=b4a12e4c062dc5df73316d8e29254e54CAS | 12200407PubMed | open url image1



Supplementary MaterialSupplementary Material 150.3 KB Export Citation