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Causes and consequences of invertebrate drift in running waters: from individuals to populations and trophic fluxes

Naman, Sean M., Rosenfeld, Jordan S., Richardson, John S.
Canadian journal of fisheries and aquatic sciences 2016 v.73 no.8 pp. 1292-1305
Internet, aquatic invertebrates, fish, fluid mechanics, food webs, habitats, models, periodicity, population dynamics, streams
Invertebrate drift, the downstream transport of aquatic invertebrates, is a fundamental ecological process in streams with important management implications for drift-feeding fishes. Despite long-standing interest, many aspects of drift remain poorly understood mechanistically, thereby limiting broader food web applications (e.g., bioenergetics-based habitat models for fish). Here, we review and synthesize drift-related processes, focusing on their underlying causes, consequences for invertebrate populations and broader trophic dynamics, and recent advances in predictive modelling of drift. Improving predictive models requires further resolving the environmental contexts where drift is driven by hydraulics (passive drift) versus behaviour (active drift). We posit this can be qualitatively inferred by hydraulic conditions, diurnal periodicity, and taxa-specific traits. For invertebrate populations, while the paradox of population persistence in the context of downstream loss has been generally resolved with theory, there are still many unanswered questions surrounding the consequences of drift for population dynamics. In a food web context, there is a need to better understand drift-foraging consumer–resource dynamics and to improve modelling of drift fluxes to more realistically assess habitat capacity for drift-feeding fishes.