Knowledge of functional aspects of communities in intermittent streams currently is lacking, and the role of terrestrial detritus as a resource in open-canopy streams is uncertain. Our main objective was to characterize and quantify the macroinvertebrate shredder assemblages in 3 intermittent open-canopy streams on the island of Öland in the Baltic Sea, Sweden, by estimating secondary production. Estimates of annual shredder secondary production ranged from 0.005 to 13.6 g ash-free dry mass (AFDM) m−2 y−1 among sites. Shredder production and amount of organic matter were positively related, but shredder production was more strongly influenced by the duration of the summer dry period. Production decreased with increase in the length of the summer dry period, but shredder production was still high at sites with long dry phases and was comparable to estimates of shredder production in permanent forested streams, results suggesting that terrestrial organic matter might be an important energy resource in open-canopy streams. Shredder species richness decreased with increase in length of the summer dry phase, and shredder species composition at sites with a long dry period was dominated by drought-tolerant taxa. Our results suggest that ecosystem functions might shift from being sustained by many taxa to being sustained by fewer taxa as stream ecosystems experience moderate droughts of similar length (2–4 mo).
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