Algal Colonization of Clay Tiles in a Third Order Midwestern Stream
Kenzie, Jessica A.
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Benthic algae contribute to stream primary productivity and are an important food resource for macroinvertebrates and other heterotrophs. Algae are good indicators of changes in the stream ecosystem because of their high turnover rate and sensitivity to pollutants. This study focused on determining the availability of algae as a food resource and characterizing a newly restored reach of a third-order Midwestern stream. The data were examined to see if the restored reach was functionally and structurally similar to the original stream. The change in biomass over time and between reaches as estimated by chlorophyll a and Ash Free Dry Mass was examined. Community composition was also examined. The independent variables measured were canopy cover, current velocity, and water temperature. The highest algal biomass occurred in the restored reach. Light penetration had the greatest influence on biomass and current velocity and temperature affected community composition. The results suggest that a functional difference between the two reaches does exist and that canopy cover should be a major consideration of future stream restoration projects.