TRaCK: Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge

Science and knowledge that governments, communities, industries for sustainable use of Australia's tropical rivers and estuaries

Colonization and Use of Dry Stream Beds by Terrestrial Invertebrates

TitleColonization and Use of Dry Stream Beds by Terrestrial Invertebrates
Publication TypeConference Participation
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsSteward, AL, Bunn, SE, Tockner, K, Sheldon, F, Choy, S
Keywords5: Foodwebs and biodiversity

Temporary streams that cease to flow and become dry are found on every continent, including Antarctica, and comprise much of the channel network in many river basins, especially those in arid and semi-arid regions. Aquatic and terrestrial habitats in these streams expand, contract, and disappear through time. While much attention has been given to the response of aquatic invertebrates to drying in temporary streams, little attention has been paid to the dry phase. At these times, streams become temporary habitat for terrestrial biota, such as invertebrates. Preliminary results show that dry stream beds contain a diverse, and often abundant, terrestrial invertebrate fauna. Pit-fall traps and an active collection method yielded numerous taxa, particularly of ants, spiders, and beetles. We developed a conceptual model of the invertebrate community in temporary streams, and in this paper focus on the dry stream biota. We test whether dry stream beds are colonised by terrestrial invertebrates from the adjacent riparian zone, or whether they are home to a unique ‘dry stream’ assemblage. We also explore how the terrestrial invertebrate community changes along a drying gradient.