Regional studies of biotic communities are important for characterising their normal spatial and temporal variation, but there are few such studies of tropical streams. This paper describes changes in invertebrate communities in Yuccabine Creek, a seasonal upland rainforest stream in tropical Australia, over three-year and decadal periods. Invertebrate abundance, richness and evenness were temporally stable, except after major drying or wet-season flows, from which they recovered quickly; however, three wet seasons contrasted in abundance patterns. Species’ responses to flood or drought varied depending on life-histories and habitat dynamics. Communities showed contrasts between wet, early-dry and late-dry seasons, with different characteristic species. Current velocity, leaf litter and substratum particle size were the main environmental correlates with species abundances and multivariate scores. Between-decade contrasts were due to antecedent rainfall and loss of canopy cover. Trophic composition varied seasonally, driven by abundances of predators and detritivores. Yuccabine Creek differs from comparable temperate streams in its high diversity of invertebrates, continual recruitment and spring-dominated continual leaf fall; and from some other tropical streams in its seasonal flow regime. Interpretation of invertebrate metrics in these streams needs to account for historical, antecedent and current conditions, but biannual samples would adequately characterise the fauna.
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