The intermediate disturbance hypothesis, refugia, and biodiversity in streams

  title={The intermediate disturbance hypothesis, refugia, and biodiversity in streams},
  author={Colin R. Townsend and Mike R. Scarsbrook and Sylvain Dol{\'e}dec},
  journal={Limnology and Oceanography},
The intermediate disturbance hypothesis has been influential in the development of ecological theory and has important practical implications for the maintenance of biodiversity but has received few rigorous tests. [] Key Result Our results support the intermediate disturbance hypothesis, with both highly mobile and relatively sedentary taxa conforming to the predicted bell-shaped curve.

A field test of the intermediate disturbance hypothesis in the soft-bottom intertidal

The results suggest that the interspecific competitive effects postulated by the hypothesis are not important in structuring this low diversity, intertidal community, and unequivocally rejecting the hypothesis is difficult.

Local disturbance history and habitat parameters influence the microdistribution of stream invertebrates

SUMMARY 1. We investigated the effects of local disturbance history and habitat parameters (abiotic and biotic) on the microdistribution of benthic invertebrates during several floods in two streams,

Predicting invertebrate diversity from disturbance regimes in forest streams

It is postulated that resource levels will set an upper limit to the species richness of a benthic community that can be achieved through colonisation of taxa in the absence of disturbance, while disturbance removes taxa and resets the colonisation process.

The roles of local disturbance history and microhabitat parameters for stream biota

This research investigates the separate and combined roles of this “local disturbance history” and microhabitat parameters in determining the small-scale distributions of benthic stream organisms (bacteria, algae and invertebrates) after natural spates and floods in two gravel-bed streams, the Schmiedlaine in Bavaria, Germany, and the Kye Burn in the South Island of New Zealand.

Disturbance and Aquatic Biodiversity: Reconciling Contrasting Views

The effects of flood-mediated disturbance on biodiversity probably depend on the spatiotemporal scale of observation, and the magnitude of the observed effects is modulated by the predictability and severity of floods and the availability of food resources.

Quantifying Disturbance in Streams: Alternative Measures of Disturbance in Relation to Macroinvertebrate Species Traits and Species Richness

A more detailed analysis indicates that the most appropriate measure of disturbance may vary even among quite closely related taxa, and the painted-particle approach, described here, has the potential to permit such standarized comparative studies.

Habitat scale and biodiversity: influence of catchment, stream reach and bedform scales on local invertebrate diversity

Predictive models relating invertebrate diversity to environmental variables collected at various spatial scales using data from 97 sampling sites dispersed throughout the Taieri River drainage in New Zealand suggest that patterns observed in local assemblage are not determined solely by local mechanisms acting within assemblages, but also result from processes operating at larger spatial scales.

Interaction between disturbance and primary productivity in determining stream invertebrate diversity

Diversity of invertebrates in streams is a function of time since the last disturbance, mediated through recovery of the food base in autotrophic streams, and little support for contemporary diversity disturbance models is provided.



The Role of Disturbance in Stream Ecology

We define disturbance in stream ecosystems to be: any relatively discrete event in time that is characterized by a frequency, intensity, and severity outside a predictable range, and that disrupts

Stream community structure in relation to spatial and temporal variation: a habitat templet study of two contrasting New Zealand streams

SUMMARY 1  The physical characteristics of two contrasting streams, and habitat types within these streams, are described in terms of a two-dimensional physical habitat templet in which

Flow Refugia and the Microdistribution of Lotic Macroinvertebrates

Observed microdistribution changes probably do not reflect very short-term reactions to individual flow events, but perhaps a longer-term response to seasonal flow conditions, which are some of the first field data implicating the role of in-stream flow refugia in macroinvertebrate community structure.

Disturbance and the temporal variability of invertebrate assemblages in two Andean streams

It is suggested that disturbance plays a seasonally important role in structuring neotropical stream communities in which changes in discharge are severe and unpredictable, and with studies from tropical floodplain rivers in which rainy-season floods are predictable events that cannot be readily characterized as disturbances.

Competition and the Structure of a Benthic Stream Community

Results of this study suggest that the structure of benthic communities in coldwater streams composed largely of mobile taxa may often be strongly influenced by Glossosoma, and Baetis and Glossosomas appear to exhibit trade-offs in feeding efficiency and the costs of exploiting food patches that should help to ensure their coexistence on a spatially variable food resource.

An experimental test of the intermediate disturbance hypothesis using cultures of marine phytoplankton

The predictions of the IDH were tested experimentally by semicontinuous multispecies cultures of marine phytoplankton and found that the hypothesis was fully supported when the results were expressed as species numbers or as Shannon's diversity index based on biomass.

Persistence of stream invertebrate communities in relation to environmental variability

Overall, persistence was greatest at low discharge, upstream sites with cool summer temperature regimes and low, stable pH, and the relative importance of biotic and abiotic influences in the structuring of these communities was speculated upon.

Role of refugia in recovery from disturbances: Modern fragmented and disconnected river systems

Habitats or environmental factors that convey spatial and temporal resistance and/or resilience to biotic communities that have been impacted by biophysical disturbances may be called refugia. Most

Species traits in relation to a habitat templet for river systems

SUMMARY 1 This paper focuses on the premise that the habitat provides the templet upon which evolution forges characteristic species traits. Alternative hypotheses are that there are historic and


This chapter discusses disturbance-diversity relationships in two lakes of similar nutrient chemistry but contrasting disturbance regimes, and discusses the role of Hutchinson’s heritage in the diversity-disturbance relationship in phytoplankton.