You are on page 1of 35

Flowing Water

1. What are the major physical, biological and chemical differences between lentic and lotic systems?
2. What are the 7 most common orders of freshwater insect? What do they eat? 3. How does the River Continuum Concept help to explain productivity and food web structure in lotic habitats?

Main difference between lakes and streams is flow

Lentic system standing water

Lotic system flowing water

Physical effects Chemical effects Biological effects

1. Physical effects parks/grand-canyon.jpg

Flowing water erodes

As a river meanders, carves out some areas, deposits on others

Results in various habitats

Results in various habitats Pooldeeper area of slower moving water

Rifflemore shallow, faster moving water

Runareas in between

Riffles, pools and runs are all within the main channel but lotic systems also have a floodplain

Kalff 2002

Hyporheic zone area below the stream. Often connected to groundwater

Riparian zone transitional area between the aquatic system and adjacent land

2. Chemical effects No epilimnion or hypolimnion. Do not see the vertical gradients in temperature and oxygen like in lakes

Instead, get longitudinal effects

In some large systems, can get a vertical gradient in light. - Mississippi River

3. Biological effects Flow means organisms need to find some way to avoid being washed down stream. Hence, in streams get an overriding importance of benthic processes over planktonic

Benthicbottom dwelling

Planktonicin the water column

A benefit of flow is the constant new supply of oxygen and organic matter

A cost of flow is the risk of being washed downstream

Stream organisms need to balance getting enough food (nutrients) to survive with avoiding being eaten and washed downstream.

Benthic algae are more important than phytoplankton in streams Periphyton, Aufwuchs, or Biofilm the algae, bacteria, protists and fungi that grow attached to submerged surfaces.

They are held together within a polysaccharide matrix that is secreted by the organisms.

In many lakes, too dark at the bottom for periphyton to dominate, but do get periphyton attached to macrophytes

The matrix keeps them put, but also makes them vulnerable to grazers

In streams (and some ponds), in addition to primary productivity, organic carbon is provided by leaves and other terrestrial material

Autochthonousoriginating within the system

Allochthonousoriginating externally to the system

This material becomes covered with a coating of bacteria and fungi that begin to decay it

Insects, mollusks and crayfish are major components of stream ecosystems Many insects that we think of as being terrestrial have an aquatic larval stage Focus on seven orders of insects

Domain Kingdom Phylum Class


Family Genus Species

Ephemeroptera Mayflies

ttp:// img/mayfly.jpg

OdonataDragonflies and Damselflies


Hemipteratrue bugs



DipteraTrue flies

Classify insects into four major feeding groups: 1. Shredders

2. Collectors

3. Scrapers

4. Predators

1. Shredders have strong, sharp mouthparts that allow them to shred or chew live plants or decomposing fragments.

Common among the true flies, stoneflies, and caddisfiles.

Shredders feed on CPOMcourse particulate organic matter

While shredding, they create FPOMfine particulate organic matter

2. Collectors Gather FPOM by sieving water html/blackflies.html

Can use tiny hairs on their heads (blackfly larvae) or forelegs (mayflies).

Some caddiesflies and midges spin nets and catch food as it comes through the water

3. Scrapers Use mouthparts to scrape the periphyton off the rocks Many mayflies, caddisflies and true flies

4. Predatorseat other living animals

stoneflies, dragonflies, true flies, true bugs, beetles macroinv/

Adaptations of invertebrates to stream flow

Flattened dorso-ventrally

Way to attach

Behaviorto drift or not to drift

The insects are eaten by fish

Fish are eaten by other fish, and by birds, mammals, etc

Fish have to constantly swim against the current. Use areas of low flow in pools behind large rocks

Stream order is a way to classify streams relative to its position in the hierarchy of its tributaries
1 2 2 1 3 1 1 2 3 1 1 1

First order streamheadwaterno tributaries Second order streamwhere two first order streams come togetherconfluence Largest river systems can cover 11-12 stream orders

River Continuum ConceptVennote et al. (1980), CJFAS

Terms to Know
lentic lotic pool riffle run main channel hyporheic zone riparian zone benthic planktonic periphyton autochthonous allochthonous stream order confluence EphemeropteraMayflies OdonataDragonflies and Damselflies PlecopteraStoneflies Hemipteratrue bugs TrichopteraCaddisflies Coleopterabeetles DipteraTrue flies shredders collectors scrapers predators CPOM FPOM dorso-ventrally