Species diversity and functional assessment of macroinvertebrate communities in Austrian rivers

Chihiro Yoshimura, Klement Tockner, Tatsuo Omura, Otto Moog

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


We applied an extensive data set from 211 locations along Austrian rivers to assess community structure and the ratios of functional feeding groups of benthic macroinvertebrates. A total of 569 taxa have been identified. At the catchment scale, the Enns, Salzach, and Traun Rivers exhibited the highest taxa richness whereas the Inn River showed the lowest richness. Beta-diversity was highest along the impounded and fragmented Enns and Drau Rivers. Consequently, high corridor diversity corresponded to a low degree of nestedness. Overall, scrapers and gathering-collectors dominated the benthic community. Further, the relationship between habitat conditions and metrics based on functional feeding groups were statistically analyzed to validate the potential of these metrics as indicators of ecosystem attributes. We examined four major ecosystem attributes: species diversity, material cycling, longitudinal material transport, and lateral material input. Multiple regression analyses for midorder rivers demonstrated that metrics were significantly related to habitat conditions. For example, the metric set indicating primary production was positively correlated with periphyton cover, dissolved oxygen, dominant sediment size, and average annual discharge. Overall, most metrics exhibited unique responses to habitat conditions, implying that they are useful proxies of ecosystem attributes. Thus, a function-based approach based on macroinvertebrates has the potential to become an effective tool for the assessment of river ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-74
Number of pages12
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Aug


  • Assessment
  • Biodiversity
  • Ecosystem functions
  • Functional feeding groups
  • Invertebrates
  • Nestedness
  • Species diversity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology


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