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Water Res. 2004 Jan;38(1):128-38.

Spatial and temporal variability in the structure of invertebrate assemblages in control stream mesocosms.

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  • 1Shell Global Solutions (US) Inc., Westhollow Technology Center, 3333 Highway 6 South, Houston, TX 77082, USA.


Outdoor stream mesocosm studies conducted between 1992 and 1996 at two facilities enabled the investigation of structural variability in invertebrate assemblages within and between studies. Temporal variability of benthic invertebrate assemblages between eight replicate streams within a study was assessed in a 28-day mesocosm study without chemical treatment. Cluster analysis, non-metric multidimensional scaling, and principal component analysis each showed the untreated assemblages as structurally distinct groups on the three sampling days. The assemblages between the eight replicate streams showed >88% Bray-Curtis similarity at any one time during the study. In addition, pre-treatment data from a series of four studies conducted at one facility were used to examine structural variability in the starting benthic invertebrate assemblages between studies. Invertebrate assemblages were structurally distinct at the start of each mesocosm study conducted in different years at the same facility and the taxa responsible for differences in the assemblages were also different each year. The implications of temporal and spatial variability in benthic invertebrate assemblages within and between mesocosm studies with regards to species sensitivity and study repeatability should be considered when results of such studies are used in risk assessment.

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