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Spatial and temporal variation in the macroinvertebrate community structure of the lower Elands River, Mpumalanga, South Africa

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The Elands River, Mpumalanga, is an ecologically sensitive river that is constantly threatened by a variety of human activities. The influence of a pulp and paper mill on the river's macroinvertebrate assemblages was studied in March and June 2005, representing high- and low-flow seasons, respectively. Macroinvertebrates were collected from various biotopes using a standard sampling net, and were preserved and identified to family level. A range of multivariate and univariate statistical analyses was applied to assess the spatial and temporal variations in the macroinvertebrate communities. Diversity loss and dominance by a single taxon, Melanoides tuberculata, were noted directly below the mill. Other sites did not appear to be affected. Macroinvertebrate communities at all sites showed a strong seasonal variation.
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Keywords: DIVERSITY LOSS; PAPER MILL ACTIVITIES; SEASONAL VARIATION

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-11-01

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