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Publication Date

Spring 2015

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Studies


Rachel O’Malley


bioindicators, ground beetles, indicators, river restoration

Subject Areas

Environmental studies; Environmental science; Biology


River ecosystems are often changed by anthropogenic activities. Human forces alter natural flooding regimes along river banks and change the composition of organisms that are able to thus thrive within riverine areas. Carabid beetles have been used in many studies as bioindicators of terrestrial and aquatic interactions along river banks because as predators, they readily respond to many different kinds of environmental changes. Riparian restoration aims to undo degradation to riparian areas through actions such as non-native removal and native vegetation planting. This study along the San Lorenzo River in Central California compared restored riparian areas to adjacent undamaged, reference sites, which were used for comparison. Ground beetles were collected from three restored and three reference areas to assess the difference in assemblages and biological potential between the two site types. Ground beetle abundance was greater in restored (598) compared to reference (351) sites according to total abundance and site comparisons and similar with respect to a repeated measures ANOVA test. Three ground beetle species and the plant cover were found to be important describing the differences between restored and reference sites. One species, Chlaenius cumatillis, is proposed to be an indicator species for Santa Cruz County. Species composition varied between the two site types. Results of this comparison study provide insight for the potential success of restoration projects to improve habitat conditions along riparian corridors.