Assessing the Influence of Local and Reach Scale Factors on Macroinvertebrate Communities in Streams Affected by Catchment Urbanisation

(2009 – current)
Julia White (University of Melbourne)

At present, only a few studies have identified the interactions between reach and catchment scale impacts on stream ecosystems. Julia’s PhD project will aim to assess biotic responses to small-scale changes in habitat diversity as a result of catchment urbanisation. Three streams, Little Stringybark Creek, Wandin-Yallock Creek, and Stringybark Creek, were selected for Julia’s study due to the degree and variation of urbanisation within each. Various aspects of habitat will be quantified within and along each stream, and macroinvertebrates will be sampled to determine if urbanisation counteracts the effects of habitat diversity on macroinvertebrate communities. Manipulated wood substrates with differing treatments of surface complexity will also be placed in each study stream and sampled for macroinvertebrates. This will be done to strengthen inferences made about the importance of small-scale factors in urban catchments.

This research also feeds into the Little Stringybark Creek project, within the Ecosystem Dynamics Program, which aims to protect and restore a stream (Little Stringybark Creek) through stormwater harvesting, integrated with stormwater filtration and infiltration techniques.  See the Little Stringybark Creek Section of this website for more information on this research program.

Assoc Prof Chris Walsh and Prof Tim Fletcher (University of Melbourne)