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Changes in species composition of water insects during 25-year monitoring of the Danube floodplains affected by the Gabčíkovo waterworks

Krno, Iľja, Beracko, Pavel, Navara, Tomáš, Šporka, Ferdinand, Mišíková Elexová, Emília
Environmental monitoring and assessment 2018 v.190 no.7 pp. 412
Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, Trichoptera, anthropogenic activities, environmental monitoring, fauna, floodplains, habitats, insects, rheophilic species, species diversity, water utilities, Danube River, Slovakia
This study was based on the complex environmental monitoring of the Danube River in Slovakia. Out of 23 monitored sites, three were chosen for the aim of this study. The three sites were sampled regularly three times per year during a 25-year period, which started in 1990, 2 years before the Gabčíkovo waterworks became operational. Each site represented one of the main potamal types, which we recognised according to the habitat characteristics as eupotamal, parapotamal and plesiopotamal. In order to assess changes which occurred during the 25 years, we studied taxocoenoses of Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera and Trichoptera, which sensitively reflect anthropogenic impacts. The changes caused by the Gabčíkovo waterworks manifested in a decrease of the species diversity in eupotamal because of the disappearance of rheophilous taxa. In the parapotamal and plesiopotamal sites, the initial decrease was followed by a partial recovery of biodiversity due to the artificial floodings. After they were stopped, the decrease occurred again and until 2015, the insect taxa became rare. Conversely, in the eupotamal site, there was an increasing trend in biodiversity since 2011 until 2015. Overall increase in the floodplain index values indicated a loss of connectivity between the floodplain habitats and their fauna with the main channel during the last 25 years. In this paper, we also extended the floodplain index with data on habitat values and indication weight for several stonefly species.