Author(s): Tonya L. Ramey & John Richardson
Published in: BioScience (August 2, 2017)
Terrestrial Invertebrates in the Riparian Zone: Mechanisms Underlying Their Unique Diversity
Riparian habitat is the transitional zones between aquatic and terrestrial habitat that extends through areas adjacent to water bodies like streams, into the soil and groundwater, and vertically into the forest canopy. Riparian zones are biologically rich ecosystems, but they are highly threatened across the globe. Invertebrates represent a large proportion of the animal diversity within riparian areas, perform various ecological functions, and link aquatic and riparian food webs. Although many studies have been done on riparian taxa, this is the first review of invertebrate ecology in riparian areas.
We first discuss five characteristics of riparian zones that may support specialist riparian invertebrates: high rates of disturbance via flooding and drying, elevated nutrient and water availability, increased vegetation and microhabitat diversity, strong gradients in soil moisture and air temperature, and unique food resources.
We then review how these mechanisms change with distance from the stream into upslope habitat (lateral gradients) and stream size (longitudinal gradients; position within a catchment) and the resulting effects on the riparian invertebrate community.
Finally, we highlight gaps in our current knowledge and offer suggestions for future research.
View more details…