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Macroinvertebrate community composition and river health assessment in plateau rivers of Guizhou Province, China

Sujuan Ge, Ziwu Fan*, Yifan Su

*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Plateau rivers are considered regional water resource depots, hydropower energy bases, cradles of aquatic dispersal, and barriers to invasive alien species. In this study, 20 major plateau rivers from Guizhou Province, China, were studied to (i) investigate the composition, function feeding group distribution, and diversity of macroinvertebrates; (ii) assess the ecosystem health of the rivers using the macroinvertebrate family biotic index. Among the macroinvertebrate species, the dammed river sections were primarily comprised of Corbicula fluminea and Corbicula nitens from the Lamellibranchia, the urban river sections harbored Bellamya aeruginosa and Semisulcospira cancellata Bonson, from the Gastropoda, and the reference river sections consisted of sensitive taxa include Ecdyonurus yoshidae and Stenopsyche tlenmushanensis. Among the major plateau rivers in Guizhou, urban river sections exhibit the highest density of macrobenthic organisms. In dammed sections, the Shannon-Wiener index was the lowest, followed by urban sections, while reference sections exhibited the highest diversity. As for functional feeding groups, the density of the filter feeders was significantly higher than that of other groups. In contrast, the density of the gatherer-collectors and the shredders was relatively low. The assessment results of aquatic ecosystem health in Guizhou plateau rivers showed that dammed sections were primarily in an unhealthy state, urban sections mainly fell into sub-healthy category, reference sections had a relatively better health status. The results from this study provide baseline data that supports for water resources management, hydropower energy utilization, and ecological and environmental protection of the plateau rivers.