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Effect of landuse patterns on the benthic macroinvertebrate assemblages in the two ecoregions: Himalaya and Vindhya

Prakash Nautiyal & Asheesh Shivam Mishra*
Aquatic Biodiversity Unit, Department of Zoology & Biotehnology
HNB Garhwal University, Srinagar, Uttarakhand, India
Received 13th December, 2010; Revised 22nd January, 2011

Abstract : The major river systems of India are under anthropogenic stress. The landuse patterns influence the water chemistry and the biota of aquatic ecosystem. The benthic macroinvertebrate community having indicator value were intensively sampled during 1999-2004 from two ecoregions (Himalaya and Vindhya). The macroinvertebrates were sampled by lifting stones from 1 ft2 and identified to family level for ordination analysis. Canonical Correspondence Analysis indicated that slope and forest type influenced the distribution of benthic macroinvertebrates fauna. In the Himalaya, Philopotamidae, Limnephilidae, Leptoceridae, Baetidae, Perlodidae and Leptophlebiidae were associated with the slope, whereas Ephemerilidae and Coleoptera were associated with forest type. Substratum was an important factor in the Vindhya; the associated taxa were Nephthydae, Glossoscolecidae, Gomphidae, Heleidae, Chironomidae, Dysticidae, Thiaridae, Agrionidae and Tabanidae. These families were very sensitive to the change in the landuse patterns. The benthic macroinvertebrate assemblages varied between the Himalaya and Vindhya. The Himalayan streams were dominated by Baetidae, Glossosomatidae, Heptageniidae and Ephemerellidae, while Neoephemeridae, Caenidae, Rhyacophilidae, Chironomidae and Thiaridae were dominant taxa in the Vindhya. The landuse such as the construction of power projects in the Himalaya will adversely affect the forest and slope of river bed while the river linking projects in the Vindhya will alter the current landuse patterns and change the characteristic taxa, an indicator of changing stress. These assemblages and characteristic taxa should be considered as bench-mark for all future evaluations.


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