, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 351–361 | Cite as

Weak Relationships Between Environmental Factors and Invertebrate Communities in Constructed Wetlands

  • Lauren E. CullerEmail author
  • Robert F. Smith
  • William O. Lamp


Growing awareness of essential wetland functions is providing support for wetland construction projects. Biomonitoring using invertebrates is a common way to evaluate project success, but relationships between wetland invertebrates and environmental factors are often weak. In recently constructed wetlands on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, we tested the hypothesis that focusing on predator and primary consumer invertebrate assemblages versus the entire community would elucidate stronger relationships with environmental factors. Despite variation in factors that are hypothesized to control wetland invertebrates (e.g., vegetation and tendency to dry), our results indicated weak relationships between environmental factors and the structure and composition of the entire community as well as predator and primary consumer assemblages separately. Examining the entire community and individual assemblages, however, showed that invertebrates were influenced by temporal factors. We propose that a complex interaction between wetland shape/size, local weather, and seasonal changes may have driven invertebrate community patterns among wetlands. Such interactions would complicate bioassessments of wetlands that differ in size, hydrology, and local weather conditions. Further study of specific factors controlling wetland invertebrates and developing new metrics that incorporate seasonal environmental change could improve biomonitoring results and thus management strategies aimed at enhancing wetland function.


Invertebrates Constructed wetlands Biomonitoring Predators Primary consumers 



Support for this project was provided by the Department of Entomology at the University of Maryland, the Maryland Agriculture Experiment Station, and the Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology through funds provided by USDA-CSREES - Special Project. We thank Doug Samson and The Nature Conservancy for permission to use the Jackson Lane Preserve for invertebrate collection. Doug Samson provided water depth, wetland size, and hydroperiod data. Ken Staver at the Wye Research and Education Center provided water chemistry data. The Lamp Lab, Brad Taylor, Kathy Cottingham, the Cottingham Lab, and two anonymous reviewers provided thoughtful reviews.

Supplementary material

13157_2013_502_MOESM1_ESM.doc (166 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 166 kb)


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Copyright information

© Society of Wetland Scientists 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lauren E. Culler
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Robert F. Smith
    • 1
    • 3
  • William O. Lamp
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EntomologyUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesDartmouth CollegeHanoverUSA
  3. 3.Massachusetts Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Environmental ConservationUniversity of MassachusettsAmherstUSA

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