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Effects of land use on benthic macroinvertebrate communities: Comparison of two mountain streams in Korea

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 July 2011

Yung-Chul Jun
Department of Environmental Science, Konkuk University, Seoul 143-701, Republic of Korea
Nan-Young Kim
Department of Environmental Science, Konkuk University, Seoul 143-701, Republic of Korea
Soon-Jik Kwon
Doohee Institute of Ecological Research, Korea Ecosystem Service Inc., Seoul 153-768, Republic of Korea
Seung-Chul Han
Doohee Institute of Ecological Research, Korea Ecosystem Service Inc., Seoul 153-768, Republic of Korea
In-Chul Hwang
Doohee Institute of Ecological Research, Korea Ecosystem Service Inc., Seoul 153-768, Republic of Korea
Jae-Heung Park
Doohee Institute of Ecological Research, Korea Ecosystem Service Inc., Seoul 153-768, Republic of Korea
Doo-Hee Won
Doohee Institute of Ecological Research, Korea Ecosystem Service Inc., Seoul 153-768, Republic of Korea
Myeong-Seop Byun
Water Environment Research Department, The National Institute of Environmental Research, Inchon 404-170, Republic of Korea
Hak-Yang Kong
Water Environment Research Department, The National Institute of Environmental Research, Inchon 404-170, Republic of Korea
Jong-Eun Lee
Department of Biological Science, Andong National University, Andong 760-749, Republic of Korea
Soon-Jin Hwang*
Department of Environmental Science, Konkuk University, Seoul 143-701, Republic of Korea
*Corresponding author:


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Anthropogenic land use within watersheds has substantial effects on aquatic habitats and biological communities. From September 2006 to December 2008, we investigated the effects of land use on benthic macroinvertebrate communities by comparing Song Stream and Odae Stream, two adjacent mountain streams in Korea whose watersheds have different land use patterns. Song Stream is significantly disturbed by agricultural activities in the watershed, whereas Odae Stream is relatively undisturbed and is surrounded by a well-conserved forest area. Song Stream had significantly higher levels of all nutrients and sediment-related factors due to the adjacent agricultural area. As a result, Song Stream had markedly lower species community indices, such as taxa richness and abundance. In Song Stream, macroinvertebrate scrapers and predators were most adversely affected, whereas collector-gatherers became a dominant group. Based on correlation and multivariate analyses, total dissolved solids had the strongest negative relationship with macroinvertebrate assemblages, followed by electrical conductivity, total nitrogen, and pH. The proportion of cobble in stream substrate was positively related to the richness and abundance of macroinvertebrates. Our results indicate that disturbances caused by agricultural land use, particularly sand deposition, had significant adverse effects on macroinvertebrate habitats and on the biotic integrity of benthic macroinvertebrate communities.

Research Article
© EDP Sciences, 2011


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