Effects of different types of land-use on taxonomic and functional diversity of benthic macroinvertebrates in a subtropical river network

No Thumbnail Available
File version
Liu, Z
Li, Z
Castro, DMP
Tan, X
Jiang, X
Meng, X
Ge, Y
Xie, Z
Griffith University Author(s)
Primary Supervisor
Other Supervisors
File type(s)

Expansion of agricultural and urban areas and intensification of catchment land-use increasingly affect different facets of biodiversity in aquatic communities. However, understanding the responses of taxonomic and functional diversity to specific conversion from natural forest to agriculture and urban land-use remains limited, especially in subtropical streams where biomonitoring programs and using functional traits are still under development. Here, we conducted research in a subtropical stream network to examine the responses of macroinvertebrate taxonomic and functional diversity to different types of land-use in central China. Our results showed that medium body size, univoltine, gill respiration, and slow seasonal development were much higher in natural forest sites, while certain traits related to strong resilience and resistance (e.g., small body size, fast seasonal development, bi-or multivoltine, abundant occurrence in drift, sprawler) dominated in high-intensity agriculture and urbanization sites. We further found that land-use compromised water quality (e.g., increases in total phosphate, conductivity and water temperature) and habitat conditions (e.g., high proportion of sand and silt, gravel, and channel width) accounted for the changes in trait composition based on a combination of RLQ and fourth-corner analysis. Moreover, natural forest sites presented relatively high values of functional richness than other land-use, demonstrating the importance of natural forest maintenance to promote high levels of functional diversity. However, taxonomic diversity indexes showed higher sensitivity to distinguish different types of land-use compared to functional diversity measures. Even so, given that certain trait categories showed significant relationships with specific local environmental stressors, trait-based approaches can provide reliable evidence to diagnose the cause of impairment and complement the results of the taxonomic-based approaches. Our findings support the idea that taxonomic and functional approaches should be integrated in river restoration and land-use management.

Journal Title

Environmental Science and Pollution Research

Conference Title
Book Title




Thesis Type
Degree Program
Publisher link
Patent number
Grant identifier(s)
Rights Statement
Rights Statement
Item Access Status
Access the data
Related item(s)

Biological sciences

Chemical sciences

Environmental sciences

Benthic macroinvertebrates;

Functional diversity;

Land-use types;

Subtropical river network

Taxonomic diversity;

Persistent link to this record

Liu, Z; Li, Z; Castro, DMP; Tan, X; Jiang, X; Meng, X; Ge, Y; Xie, Z, Effects of different types of land-use on taxonomic and functional diversity of benthic macroinvertebrates in a subtropical river network, Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 2021, 28 (32), pp. 44339-44353