Studies of the production of stream insects are now numerous, and general factors controlling the secondary production of stream communities are becoming evident. In this review we focus on how life-history attributes influence the production dynamics of stream insects and other macroinvertebrates. Annual production of macroinvertebrate communities in streams world-wide ranges from approximately 100 to 103 g dry mass m−2. High levels are reported for communities dominated by filter feeders in temperate streams. Filter feeding enables the accrual and support of high biomass, which drives the very highest production. Frequently disturbed communities in warm-temperate streams are also highly productive. Biomass accrual by macroinvertebrates is limited in these streams, and production is driven by rapid growth rates rather than high biomass. The lowest production, reported for macroinvertebrate communities of cool-temperate and arctic streams, is due to the constraints of low seasonal temperatures and nutrient or food limitation. Geographical bias, paucity of community-wide studies, and limited knowledge of the effects of biotic interactions limit current understanding of mechanisms controlling stream productivity.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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