Diversity of Macro-invertebrates with Respect to Selected Environmental Variables of Walawe River Upstream

H.P.S.U. Chandrarathna, T. Priadarshana, H.B. Asanthi


Benthic macro-invertebrates play an important role in aquatic community and many factors
including environmental variables regulate their composition and community structure. The
variation of community structure and diversity of macro-invertebrates in a selected part of
Walawe River were studied with respect to variations of substrate characters, stream
morphology, habitat availability and water quality. Four sampling sites were selected along
the Walawe River, at Kalthota, before Kalthota irrigation dam. Water, substrate and macroinvertebrate
samples were collected fortnightly during the dry period from September to
November in 2014. Collectively 23 families, belongs to seven orders and two classes were
identified. Principal Component Analysis showed that the studied environmental parameters
such as temperature, pH, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, total suspended solids, water
velocity, stream discharge, the maximum particle size of the smallest 10% and 30% of the
substrate samples and benthic organic matter, were more or less specific among sites and can
be used to describe the habitats. Although Shannon Weiner‟s Diversity Index was not
significantly different among sites, beta similarity index and family richness values showed
that taxa composition is different among sites. Higher values of EPT index (total number of
species of Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera and Trichoptera orders) indicates that the stream is in
non-polluted condition because of the presence of many sensitive taxa in the stream benthos.
Middle part of the selected portion of the stream has the most diverse morphological
characters and environmental parameters, and consequently recorded the highest aquatic
macro-invertebrate taxa. It was concluded that the cumulative effect of the studied
environmental parameters affect the variation of community structure and diversity of macroinvertebrates.
Keywords: Aquatic macro-invertebrates, Diversity index, Stream substrate

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Proceedings of International Forestry and Environment Symposium, Sri Lanka. Published by Department of Forestry and Environmental Science, University of Sri Jayewardenepura