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California vernal pool endemic responses to hydroperiod, plant thatch, and nutrients

  • Jamie M. Kneitel
  • Nestor Samiylenko
  • Luis Rosas-Saenz
  • Alyssa Nerida

DOI: 10.1007/s10750-017-3174-7

Cite this article as:
Kneitel, J.M., Samiylenko, N., Rosas-Saenz, L. et al. Hydrobiologia (2017). doi:10.1007/s10750-017-3174-7


Many endemic large branchiopods inhabit ephemeral freshwater ecosystems, including California vernal pools. Hydroperiod, inundation length, has been well studied in these systems that cycle between aquatic and terrestrial phases, but species’ responses to other ecological processes are still poorly known. For example, temporal (plant thatch from the previous terrestrial phase) and spatial (nutrient runoff) factors may have strong effects on emergence and population densities during the aquatic phase. We examined the effects of hydroperiod stability, thatch, and nutrients on the emergence and density of 4 vernal pool endemic species: Branchinecta lynchi (Anostraca), Linderiella occidentalis (Anostraca), Lepidurus packardi (Notostraca), and Cyzicus californicus (Spinicaudata). A full factorial mesocosm experiment was conducted which measured species densities, along with water quality variables. Hydroperiod and thatch differentially affected 3 of the 4 species based on emergence timing and life cycle. Treatments had effects on many water quality variables, and these variables were correlated with densities. These results highlight how hydroperiod stability along with other processes can affect large branchiopod species in temporary freshwater ecosystems. California vernal pools are a greatly reduced habitat rich in endemic and endangered species (including Branchinecta lynchi and Lepidurus packardi), and therefore, these results have implications for conservation and management.


Anostraca Endangered species Notostraca Seasonal wetlands Spinicaudata 

Funding information

Funder NameGrant NumberFunding Note
National Science Foundation
  • DEB 1354724

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesCalifornia State University, SacramentoSacramentoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Environmental StudiesCalifornia State University, SacramentoSacramentoUSA

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