Influence of riparian cover on stream temperatures and the growth of the mayfly Baetis rhodani in an upland stream

C. Imholt, C. N. Gibbins, I. A. Malcolm, S. Langan, C. Soulsby

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24 Citations (Scopus)


This research aimed to assess whether stream temperature and the size of Baetis rhodani larvae (Insecta: Ephemeroptera) differed between sites with contrasting riparian vegetation cover. Stream temperatures and Baetis sizes were monitored at sites along a 5-km section of a small (30 km(2)) upland Scottish stream. Some sites had riparian tree cover dominated by mature broadleaved woodland, while others were located in areas of open Calluna moorland. The 13 month data period included two contrasting summers, one typical for the region and the other unusually warm. Daytime water temperatures were generally highest at the open moorland sites. The difference between moorland and broadleaved woodland sites was most apparent in the summer months, with the woodland shading apparently acting to reduce maximum temperatures and mediate temporal fluctuations. Size data suggest that Baetis has a bivoltine life-cycle in the stream. Significant differences in the mean size of Baetis were found between moorland and woodland sites, with differences occurring primarily during the summer months. Mean size of Baetis was significantly greater in the moorland during the time of summer adult emergence. During the months that followed (growth of the next generation), Baetis larvae in the woodland sites were significantly larger. Size distribution data for the population suggest earlier adult emergence in the moorland section and different egg-to-larvae hatch times. Overall, the results indicate that subtle differences in growth and life cycles, linked to differences in riparian cover and streamwater temperature, can occur over short distances in upland streams.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)669-678
Number of pages10
JournalAquatic Ecology
Issue number4
Early online date30 Dec 2009
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


  • Stream temperature
  • Riparian cover
  • Baetis rhodani
  • Growth
  • Emergence
  • Food Availability
  • Fish habitat
  • Ephemeroptera
  • Forest
  • River
  • Water
  • Invertebrates
  • Microclimate
  • Communities
  • Variability


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