Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Scott R. Elliott; Robert J. Naiman; Peter A. Bisson
    Date: 2004
    Source: Northwest Science. 78(2): 150-157
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    PDF: View PDF  (638 KB)


    Suspended particles (seston) in streams are an important source of nutrition for many invertebrates, forming a strong trophic link between plant and animal production. In forested regions the management of riparian corridors may alter alloehthonous and autochthonous contributions to streams, ultimately changing the biophysical characteristics of seston. This article examines the effects of riparian condition on the biophysical parameters of seston at summer base-flow from 19 small, headwater streams (1 st - 3rd order) on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington. Consistent with other studies, seston concentrations and percent of organic matter were not correlated with any single or combination of riparian characteristics. Nevertheless. there are several riparian effects on the biotic characteristics of seston. Chlorophyll-a concentrations were generally <1.0 mg Chl-a-L-1 but correlated. significantly with canopy closure, particularly for streams of 1st and 2nd order. C:N ratios ranged from 7.6 to 25.6 and mean values at coniferous sites were significantly higher than those at alder-dominated deciduous sites or at sites with no appreciable riparian cover. Particle diversity showed that diatoms were a significant proportion Of total seston diversity (range = 47-66% of the number of particles), although significantly higher concentrations of diatoms were found in sites lacking canopy cover. Surprisingly, wood particles were not well represented (range 2-4% of seston particles) and wood concentration did not vary by riparian cover type or by any other measured parameter. We conclude that riparian condition affects summer food quality, but not the amount of suspended organic matter.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Elliott, Scott R.; Naiman, Robert J.; Bisson, Peter A. 2004. Riparian influences on the biophysical characteristics of seston in headwater streams. Northwest Science. 78(2): 150-157

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page