Diversity of Aquatic Macroinvertebrates in Streams in the Belgrade Region (Does Different Stream Types Matter?)

Vanja Marković1, Ana Atanacković1, Katarina Zorić1, Marija Ilić1, Margareta Kračun-Kolarević1, Bojana Tubić1




1 University of Belgrade, Institute for Biological Research “Siniša Stanković”, Despota Stefana Blvd. 142, 11060 Belgrade, Serbia; E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it




The paper presents the study of macroinvertebrate diversity in the Belgrade region. The study is based on material collected in September of 2012. A total of 21 localities, belonging to 5 different stream types are analyzed. A total of 65 taxa were identified. Oligochaeta were found to be the most diverse group overall, as well as in each analyzed watercourse type. Besides Nematoda and Chironomidae, tubificid worms Limnodrilus hoffmeisteri Claparede, 1862 and Potamothrix hammoniensis (Michaelsen, 1901), as well as snail Physella acuta Draparnaud, 1805 were common for all analyzed stream types. Although a low number of commom taxa in analyzed types could suggest faunistical differences, the performed multivariate analysis (DCA) could not separate watercourses in the Belgrade region in respect to their macroinvertebrate fauna. Such faunistical structures with no difference in respect to water types could be due to deteriorated habitats in this urban area. For more reliable analysis, prolonged and more detailed sampling is needed.

Keywords: macroinvertebrates, streams, tipology, urban area, Belgrade.





Urbanization is a process which alters the physical and chemical characteristics of streams as well as causing significant biological and ecological degradation (Cuffney et al., 2010). Such deterioration of stream habitats and consequently its biota, caused by urbanization nowadays is recognized as „urban stream syndrome"(Walsh et al. 2005). Accordingly, an urbanized and densely populated area such as the Belgrade region, inevitably contributes to a wide range of anthropogenic impacts to its aquatic habitats. As the most important, hydromorphological pressures (regulation and channelization, bank reinforcement and embankments, sediment/sand extraction), organic and nutrient pollution (communal and urban wastewaters, agricultural drainages) and industrial and toxic pollution (industrial wastewaters, medical waste), should be noted. Besides, sometimes overlooked sources of toxicants are heavily trafficked roads, which some authors consider as one of principal pollution sources in many urban areas (Beasley and Kneale, 2002). Despite expansion in the field of urban ecology and hydroecology (Vermonden, 2010; Pickett et al., 2011), in Serbia there is a general lack of data even for its largest urban area – the Belgrade region.

Belgrade is located at the confluence of two large European rivers – the Danube and the Sava. In addition, there is also a number of various smaller watercourses. While large rivers – the Danube and the Sava - are well researched, as a result of research conducted in the urban region (for example Kalafatić et al., 1997; Martinović-Vitanović et al., 1999; Jakovčev-Todorović et al., 2005; Popović et al., 2013), or as a part of broader research (for example Paunović et al., 2007; Paunović et al. 2008), whereas the smaller streams have been neglected. With scarce data, although it is proved that it could be valuable habitats for aquatic macroinvertebrates (Vermonden, 2010). Marković et al (2013) provided an overview of freshwater snail fauna in Belgrade Region. The ecological status of smaller Belgrade watercourses was assessed by Kračun et al. (2013), while Dragićević et al. (2010) estimated the water and habitat quality of the Topčider River.

Our aim in this paper is to contribute to the knowledge of aquatic macroinvertebrate fauna of this urban region, and to test if the differences in its diversity could be due to its different water types.