Comparison of trophic structure of the benthic macroinvertebrates in three Bulgarian riverine water bodies


Abstract: The trophic structure of benthic macroinvertebrates in three different types of running water bodies subjected to varying degrees of anthropogenic pressure was analyzed. A seasonal survey was conducted at three Bulgarian rivers in 2011. An adapted version of the multihabitat sampling method was applied along with measuring physical and chemical variables. The ecological status was defined by means of biotic and trophic indexes. Distribution of the functional feeding groups shows that the most sensitive groups, shredders and scrapers, dominate the trophic structure of the mountain river types. In contrast, groups of deposit feeders and filterers prevail at the foothill and plain rivers. Multidimensional scaling plot and redundancy analysis demonstrated that anthropogenic impact and altitude are the main factors determining the distribution of the benthic macroinvertebrates by different functional groups. Seasonality has no leading role in the trophic structure formation of the benthic communities. Our results showed a difference between the trophic composition of the macrozoobenthos found in the mountain sections and those found in the foothill/plain stretches of the rivers. A comparison between the last two areas demonstrated that there was no clear distinction between the trophic composition of the functional feeding groups.

Keywords: Macroinvertebrates, functional feeding groups, trophic index, biotic index, ecological state, ordination analysis

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