At temporary stream sites, researchers found that just three types, or 'taxa', of invertebrates remained following a long drought. At sites that experienced shorter dry spells, 24 taxa remained.
The findings shed light on the potential effect of climate change-related increases in drought length on aquatic invertebrates in these common but poorly-researched streams, which regularly lose surface water during dry spells.
"Temporary streams are very common in temperate regions such as the UK, and aquatic invertebrates' persistence in them is hugely important in maintaining their ecological health," said Dr. Rachel Stubbington, lead author of the Freshwater Biology study. "Impacts on invertebrate communities may have consequences that extend throughout food webs and into terrestrial environments."