Robinson Christopher Thomas

Colonization and succession of macroinvertebrates in temporary and permanent streams of Macun (Swiss National Park)

Project Number: CH-2204
Project Type: Master
Project Duration: 04/01/2003 - 12/31/2003 project completed
Funding Source: EAWAG ,
Project Leader: PD Dr. Christopher Thomas Robinson
Fliessgewässerökologie, Fliessgewässersysteme
Aquatische Ökologie (ECO)
Überlandstrasse 133
8600 Dübendorf
Phone: +41 (0) 58 765 53 17 ; +41 (0) 58 765 51 32
FAX: +41 (0) 58 765 53 15
e-Mail: christopher.robinson(at)

related to this project.
for which the project has a relevance.

Research Areas:

environmental sciences
hydrology, limnology, glaciology

macroinvertebrates, stream, temporary, life history, Prosimulium latimucro, Chironomidae, drought

Comparison of Macroinvertebrates Assemblages of Permanent and Temporary streams in an Alpine Flood PlainJanine Rüegg and Christopher T. RobinsonDepartment of Limnology, EAWAG/ETH, Überlandstasse 133, 8600 Dübendorf, SwitzerlandAuthor for correspondence: robinson@eawag.chAbstractWe examined macroinvertebrate assemblages of temporary and permanent alpine streams during summer 2003 in the Swiss Alps. Stream types were separated by species richness and abundance even though within stream type variability was high. Temporary streams contained less species and lower individual numbers. Temporary streams could be divided in 2 groups by duration of surface flow. Streams with short flow periods were dominated by Chironomidae and Oligochaeta, while other temporary streams were dominated solely by Chironomidae. Permanent streams were dominated by Chironomidae and Turbellaria (Crenobia alpine) or Chironomidae and EPT taxa. Temporal succession showed no pattern in species richness but showed a replacement of species. Chironomidae assemblages differed between sites with a higher diversity in permanent streams. In the temporary streams, species of the subfamily Orthocladiinae were only found in low abundances. Temporary alpine streams showed similar overall patterns as temporary streams of other regions. Life cycles comparison of the simuliid Prosimulium latimucro, which was present at permanent sites as well as temporary, revealed more synchrony and faster development in the temporary site. At one permanent site, the life cycle was fast, whereas the other site showed a lagging period of late instar larvae. High temperatures and low precipitation in summer 2003 lead to extremely dry conditions. Comparison of assemblages with the previous year’s data showed a differnce in community structure. In 2002 the assemblage was dominated by Chironomidae, while in 2003 Crenobia alpina accounted for almost 50% of the assemblages. The assemblage composition of the mid-July 2002 sample resembled those of the 1 July 2003 sample. Life history patterns of Prosimulium latimucro showed higher growth in the beginning of the year in 2003. Species composition and life cycle indicate a fast response to unpredictable drought.Key words: macroinvertebrates, stream, temporary, life history, Prosimulium latimucro, Chironomidae, drought

Leading questions:
Temporary streams appear to be a common feature of Alpine floodplains. This project will compare the colonization and succession of benthic communities of temporary streams with those of permanent streams. The dynamcis and inter-relationships between these different systems should provide important information on the maintainance and sustainability of biodiversity in alpine floodplains. It is presently expected that temporary systems may become even more common in light of future landscape trajectories.

Rüegg J 2003: Comparision of Macroinvertebrates Assemblages of Permanent and Temporary Streams in an Alpine Flood Plain. Diplomarbeit Teil 1, EAWAGRüegg J 2003: Macun Monitoring Manual: Grundlage der Datenerhebung für das Langzeitmonitoring der Macun Seenplatte. Diplomarbeit Teil 2, EAWAGRüegg, J. and C. T. Robinson. 2004. Comparison of macroinvertebrate assemblages of permanent and temporary streams in an Alpine flood plain, Switzerland. Archiv für Hydrobiologie 161: 489-510.

Last update: 12/23/16
Source of data: ProClim- Research InfoSystem (1993-2020)
Update the data of project: CH-2204

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