The invertebrate fauna of a physically modified urban river

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences


The typical urban river is affected by various factors relating to water quality problems, physical habitat modification (for flood prevention) and flashy flows. These restrict macroinvertebrate biodiversity such that a few tolerant taxa may dominate and more sensitive organisms may be completely absent. This paper presents the findings of a year long, macroinvertebrate survey of an urban river catchment and investigates the effects of physical habitat modification on macroinvertebrates using various analytical tools. It is demonstrated that considerable variation in invertebrate species, abundance, diversity and tolerance exists between different urban rivers, sites on the same river and individual sites at different sampling times. Analysis of paired sites with similar water quality, but contrasting physical habitat, indicates that less modified sites support a slightly higher quality macroinvertebrate fauna (defined by biotic score and beta diversity) than heavily engineered sites. It is concluded that water quality is the primary limiting factor of invertebrate biodiversity in the heavily urbanized River Tame catchment. The removal of heavy engineering structures may facilitate improvements to invertebrate fauna in urban rivers only in conjunction with improvements to water quality.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-108
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2001


  • Diversity, Habitat modification, Management, Urban rivers, Water quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas