Resistance, Resilience, and Patchiness of Invertebrate Assemblages in Native Tussock and Pasture Streams in New Zealand after a Hydrological Disturbance


We generated hydrological disturbances to investigate the role of disturbance in New Zealand streams in two land uses: native tussock grasslands and exotic pasture catchments. We tested whether physical differences in streambed structure confer higher resistance and resilience in tussock sites than in pasture sites. We also investigated changes in patchiness (at spatial scales larger than 0.06 m2) caused by the disturbance. Invertebrate abundance decreased immediately after the disturbance. Species density remained unchanged, but species richness (rarefied) increased. Eight days after the disturbance event, abundance and species richness (rarefied) were similar to those of samples collected immediately before the disturbance. Resistance (measured as decrease in abundance) and resilience (measured as recovery within 8 days) did not differ significantly between the land uses. Patchiness increased in both stream types immediately after the disturbance but decreased to predisturbance levels after 8 days. Disturbance caused a redistribution of individuals among patches, some receiving individuals, others losing individuals, and some remaining unchanged. Our results conform with predictions of the patch dynamics concept and are consistent with results of studies of natural disturbance caused by floods.


Biological Sciences

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© 2003 National Research Council of Canada, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2003