Macroinvertebrates body size patterns: a simple tool for freshwater bioassessment?

  • Joana Neves University of Aveiro
  • Amadeu Soares University of Aveiro
  • Kieran Monaghan University of Aveiro


Body size is arguably the single most important ecological trait. It is particularly important in aquatic ecosystems, where species interactions are structured according to size-abundance patterns. Theory predicts that disturbed systems will be dominated by small-sized organisms while non-impacted are expected to include a more diverse range of organism sizes. Based on the assumption that in non-disturbed habitats species achieve their energetic optimal size, while under stressed conditions growth may be constrained, we proposed that it should be possible to evaluate environmental conditions by describing patterns in body size. [...]