Aquatic-Macroinvertebrate Communities of Prairie-Pothole Wetlands and Lakes Under a Changed Climate

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Understanding how aquatic-macroinvertebrate communities respond to changes in climate is important for biodiversity conservation in the Prairie Pothole Region and other wetland-rich landscapes. We sampled macroinvertebrate communities of 162 wetlands and lakes previously sampled from 1966 to 1976, a much drier period compared to our 2012–2013 sampling timeframe. To identify possible influences of a changed climate and predation pressures on macroinvertebrates, we compared two predictors of aquatic-macroinvertebrate communities: ponded-water dissolved-ion concentration and vertebrate-predator presence/abundance. Further, we make inferences of how macroinvertebrate communities were structured during the drier period when the range of dissolved-ion concentrations was much greater and fish occurrence in aquatic habitats was rare. We found that aquatic-macroinvertebrate community structure was influenced by dissolved-ion concentrations through a complex combination of direct and indirect relationships. Ion concentrations also influenced predator occurrence and abundance, which indirectly affected macroinvertebrate communities. It is important to consider both abiotic and biotic gradients when predicting how invertebrate communities will respond to climate change. Generally, in the wetlands and lakes we studied, freshening of ponded water resulted in more homogenous communities than occurred during a much drier period when salinity range among sites was greater.




McLean, K. I., Mushet, D. M., Renton, D. A., & Stockwell, C. A. (2016). Aquatic-Macroinvertebrate Communities of Prairie-Pothole Wetlands and Lakes Under a Changed Climate. Wetlands, 36, 423–435.

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