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Article

Flow Intermittency Affects Leaf Decomposition and Benthic Consumer Communities of Alpine Streams: A Case Study along the Po River

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Department of Life Sciences and Systems Biology, University of Turin, Via Accademia Albertina 13, 10123 Turin, Italy
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Italy Centro per lo Studio dei Fiumi Alpini (ALPSTREAM–Alpine Stream Research Center), 12030 Ostana, Italy
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Department of Science and Technological Innovation, University of Eastern Piedmont, Viale Teresa Michel 11, 15121 Alessandria, Italy
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Department of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences, University of Turin, Largo Paolo Braccini 2, 10095 Grugliasco, Italy
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Department of Entomology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48823, USA
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Department of Osteopathic Medical Specialties, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48823, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Antonella Carosi
Water 2022, 14(2), 258; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14020258
Received: 6 December 2021 / Revised: 11 January 2022 / Accepted: 13 January 2022 / Published: 16 January 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Climate Change on Freshwater Biodiversity)
Streams and rivers are becoming increasingly intermittent in Alpine regions due to the global climate change and related increases of local water abstractions, making it fundamental to investigate the occurrence of supraseasonal drying events and their correlated effects. We aimed to investigate leaf litter decomposition, the C:N ratio of the litter, and changes in associated macroinvertebrate communities in three reaches of the Po River: One upstream, consistently perennial, a perennial mid-reach with high hydrological variability, and an intermittent downstream reach. We placed leaf litter bags of two leaf types—chestnut and oak; both showed comparable decomposition rates, but the remaining litter mass was different and was attributed to the C:N ratio and palatability. Furthermore, (1) in perennial reaches, leaf litter decomposed faster than in the intermittent ones; (2) in intermittent reaches, the C:N ratio showed a decreasing trend in both leaf types, indicating that drying affected the nitrogen consumption, therefore the conditioning phase; (3) associated macroinvertebrate communities were richer and more stable in perennial reaches, where a higher richness and abundance of EPT taxa and shredders was observed. Our results suggest that the variations in the hydrology of mountain streams caused by global climate change could significantly impact on functional processes and biodiversity of benthic communities. View Full-Text
Keywords: leaf bags; global climate change; dry rivers; benthic community; CPOM decomposition leaf bags; global climate change; dry rivers; benthic community; CPOM decomposition
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MDPI and ACS Style

Gruppuso, L.; Doretto, A.; Falasco, E.; Fenoglio, S.; Freppaz, M.; Benbow, M.E.; Bona, F. Flow Intermittency Affects Leaf Decomposition and Benthic Consumer Communities of Alpine Streams: A Case Study along the Po River. Water 2022, 14, 258. https://doi.org/10.3390/w14020258

AMA Style

Gruppuso L, Doretto A, Falasco E, Fenoglio S, Freppaz M, Benbow ME, Bona F. Flow Intermittency Affects Leaf Decomposition and Benthic Consumer Communities of Alpine Streams: A Case Study along the Po River. Water. 2022; 14(2):258. https://doi.org/10.3390/w14020258

Chicago/Turabian Style

Gruppuso, Laura, Alberto Doretto, Elisa Falasco, Stefano Fenoglio, Michele Freppaz, Mark E. Benbow, and Francesca Bona. 2022. "Flow Intermittency Affects Leaf Decomposition and Benthic Consumer Communities of Alpine Streams: A Case Study along the Po River" Water 14, no. 2: 258. https://doi.org/10.3390/w14020258

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