SUMMARY 1. The catchments of three acidified streams in mid Wales were limed in 1987/88. Here we assess their chemical and biological response in comparison with unmanipulated reference streams over a period of 5 years post‐liming. 2. Stream chemistry was measured weekly/fortnightly between 1985 and 1992, while macroinvertebrates were sampled annually. Colonization by acid‐sensitive taxa was assessed and trends in community structure were monitored by TWINSPAN. Real biological responses were compared with those predicted by an empirical model constructed using chemical data. 3. There were marked changes in stream chemistry following liming: calcium concentrations and pH values increased, while aluminium concentrations decreased to levels similar to those in naturally circumneutral streams. These conditions have persisted since liming. 4. Empirical models predicted that stream invertebrates would respond to the altered stream chemistry, with the establishment of communities typical of circumneutral conditions. 5. Following liming, the taxon richness and abundance of acid‐sensitive taxa was significantly higher in limed compared with reference streams. Colonization by, and persistence of acid‐sensitive taxa was patchy, however, and richness was still substantially lower than in naturally circumneutral streams. Moreover, contrary to the model predictions, there were no wholesale changes in the structure of macroinvertebrate communities. 6. We conclude that liming has created and maintained chemical conditions suitable for macroinvertebrate communities typical of circumneutral streams, but these chemical changes have not been matched by sustained responses among the biota. The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the NRA.
Freshwater Biology – Wiley
Published: Aug 1, 1995
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