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Selected Publication:

Leitner, P; Hauer, C; Graf, W; .
(2017): Habitat use and tolerance levels of macroinvertebrates concerning hydraulic stress in hydropeaking rivers - A case study at the Ziller River in Austria.
Sci Total Environ. 2017; 575:112-118 FullText FullText_BOKU

Artificial flow fluctuations due to the operation of hydropower plants, frequently described as hydropeaking, result in a constant decrease of biomass of specific macrozoobenthos (MZB) taxa. For the presented case study, we assessed three reaches in the Ziller River catchment. At each sampling reach we performed the Multi-Habitat-Sampling (MHS) method with a Water Framework Directive (WFD) compliant AQEM/MHS net according to the Austrian guideline. Additionally, a hydraulic-specific sampling was conducted with a modified Box (Surber) sampler. As a basis for predictive habitat modelling of the MZB fauna, we measured abiotic parameters like mean (v(40)) and bottom-near (v(bottom)) flow rate or water depth respectively, for each box sample. In addition, the choriotope type, representing grain size classes, was determined. One of the main results is, that the national status assessment was not capable to reflect the impact of pulse release at the investigated river stretches on the basis of status classes. Moreover, we figured out that 1) habitats of stagnophilic macroinvertebrate taxa are minimized in channelized stretches affected by hydropeaking, leading to heavy quantitative losses for populations, becoming apparent in significant decreases in total individual numbers and biomass for many taxa. 2) The minor respond of the ecological status class in affected stretches by applying the WFD compliant national assessment method for macroinvertebrates owes to the tolerance of rheobiont or rheophilic taxa commonly classified as indicators for good conditions regarding saprobity or degradation score. 3) A development of a stressor-specific sampling design is required as the MHS method largely ignores vulnerable habitats. 4) The habitat suitability of selected species provides efficient expertise for impact assessment and mitigation measure design in terms of predictive habitat modelling. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Authors BOKU Wien:
Graf Wolfram
Hauer Christoph
Leitner Patrick

Find related publications in this database (Keywords)
Habitat use
Hydraulic stress

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