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Habitat-specific production of aquatic and terrestrial invertebrate drift in small forest streams: implications for drift-feeding fish

Naman, Sean M., Rosenfeld, Jordan S., Third, Laura C., Richardson, John S.
Canadian journal of fisheries and aquatic sciences 2017 v.74 no.8 pp. 1208-1217
body size, exports, fish, forests, invertebrates, stream channels, British Columbia
The influence of stream channel structure on the production of prey for drift-feeding fish is not well understood. We quantified drift production, the entry rate per streambed area, and drift flux, the total export rate per channel unit, in three second-order, forested streams in southwest British Columbia, Canada. We tested whether (1) drift production was higher in riffles than in pools, (2) drift flux increased with riffle length, and (3) prey body size was larger from riffles relative to pools and from terrestrial drop relative to aquatic drift. Total and aquatic-derived drift production (mg·m⁻²·h⁻¹) was ∼3.5 times higher in riffles relative to pools; however, terrestrial drift did not differ between channel types. Total drift flux (mg·h⁻¹) was positively related to riffle length. Terrestrial invertebrates were approximately three times larger than aquatics, and invertebrates from riffles were approximately three times larger on average than those from pools. These results suggest that channel structure directly affects prey availability and prey quality for drift-feeding fish and that long riffles may be key areas of prey generation.