Rotifers of the Broadstone stream in the Ashdown Forest | Rotiferalia

ROTIFERS of the Broadstone

  • Broadstone stream in the Ashdown Forest
  • Trophic relations in the Broadstone stream
  • Stream section of the Broadstone stream
  • Seasonal mean densities of benthic rotifers in the Broadstone stream
  • PlaceBroadstone stream
  • Coordinates52° 57'N, 3° 38'W
  • Type
    • Gravel stream
    • characteristic: iron rich
    • pH: acidic

For more than a decade, we assessed the meiofauna and macrofauna of this fishless stream, resulting in a substantial increase in biodiversity. More than 159 invertebrate species occur in the Broadstone streambed, among which many species had previously been overlooked1-3.

Large amount of debris and leafy detritus is retained in the stream, due to the dense woodlands alongs its banks. The structure of the stream channel and streambed leads to a dynamic flow pattern buffering disturbances from high flows.

From a trophic perspective, meiofaunal species contribute substantially to the food-web structure1-2. In particular, the impact on food-web topology by rotifers, oligochaetes, chironomids and protozoans (testate amaebae) increases distinctly during the summer period1-3. Thus, diet changes of invertebrates clearly reflect their responses to seasonal shifts in the availability of food sources.

Among chironomid predators, benthic rotifer species were the most important food items in the Broadstone stream3. Generally, rotifers (monogononts and bdelloids) were most abundant in summer and decreased towards late winter. Interestingly, most monogononts appear to be absent from the streambed surface during late autumn.

1. Schmid-Araya, J.M. et al. 2002a. Ecology 83: 1271 (see abstract).
2. Schmid-Araya, J.M. et al. 2002b.  J. Anim. Ecol. 71, 1056 (see abstract).
3. Schmid, P.E. & Schmid-Araya, J.M. 2002. In: Freshwater Meiofauna. Biology and Ecology. Backhuys Publ. Leiden (Eds Rundle, S.D., Roberston, A.L. & Schmid-Araya, J.M.): 295.

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