Ecological studies on
: (a) the use of colonisation samplers in relation to biological surveillance of river water quality (b) the requirements of freshwater gastropoda

  • Anthony J. Watton

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Some of the factors affecting colonisation of a colonisation sampler, the Standard Aufwuchs Unit (S. Auf. U.) were investigated, namely immersion period, whether anchored on the bottom or suspended, and the influence of riffles. It was concluded that a four-week immersion period was best. S. Auf. U. anchored on the bottom collected both more taxa and individuals than suspended ones. Fewer taxa but more individuals colonised S. Auf. U. in the potamon zone compared to the rhithron zone with a consequent reduction in the values of pollution indexes and diversity. It was concluded that a completely different scoring system was necessary for lowland rivers. Macroinvertebrates colonising S. Auf. U. in simulated streams, lowland rivers and the R. Churnet reflected water quality. A variety of pollution and diversity indexes were applied to results from lowland river sites. Instead of these, it was recommended that an abbreviated species - relative abundance list be used to summarise biological data for use in lowland river surveillance. An intensive study of gastropod populations was made in simulated streams. Lynnaea peregra increased in abundance whereas Potamopyrgas jenkinsi decreased with increasing sewage effluent concentration. No clear-cut differences in reproduction were observed. The presence/absence of eight gastropod taxa was compared with concentrations of various pollutants in lowland rivers. On the basis of all field work it appeared that ammonia, nitrite, copper and zinc were the toxicants most likely to be detrimental to gastropods and that P. jenkinsi and Theodoxus fluviatilis were the least tolerant taxa. 96h acute toxicity tests of P. jenkinsi using ammonia and copper were carried out in a flow-through system after a variety of static range finding tests. P. jenkinsi was intolerant to both toxicants compared to reports on other taxa and the results suggested that these toxicants would affect distribution of this species in the field.
Date of Award1982
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorHerbert A. Hawkes (Supervisor)


  • Ecological studies
  • colonisation samplers
  • biological surveillance
  • river water quality
  • freshwater gastropoda

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