Undergraduate Research Project
Title: Differences in Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Community Structure between Natural Lentic Systems and Human Made and Managed Lentic Systems
Objective: This comparative study will be conducted to better understand anthropogenic impacts on aquatic macroinvertebrate community composition. The comparison will be made between aged, natural lentic systems and young, human-made lentic systems.
Abstract: Many studies have been conducted to determine if macroinvertebrate community composition corresponds with measures of aquatic health variables such as nutrient levels, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, or water color, but these relationships have yet to be completely understood. Even less is known about how management of human constructed aquatic systems, such as storm water detention ponds, affects these communities. In a human-dominated world, it is important to understand how manipulations of the natural world affect biodiversity and ecological functions. Management of vegetation and algae in detention ponds with regular application of chemical treatments may alter aquatic invertebrates through direct and indirect effects. This study asks how macroinvertebrate community structure differs between natural and man-made and managed lentic systems especially in terms of groups of predators, which have been found to correlate most closely with measures of aquatic health. Samples from the littoral zones of natural lakes and man-made ponds will be sampled, and specimens of macroinvertebrates will be identified and grouped based on family and trophic level. Community structure and abundance of predators will be assessed in relation to habitat health variables. Differences in community composition between these lentic systems will suggest that anthropogenic influences in a pond change the natural community structure. Strong correlations to habitat will suggest that habitat has an overriding effect on invertebrate community structure. This study will contribute to the larger body of knowledge of biodiversity in human created storm water systems, and how these communities differ from natural systems and are affected by management.