Advertisement

Wetlands

, 20:707 | Cite as

Annual and seasonal variation and the effects of hydroperiod on benthic macroinvertebrates of seasonal forest (“vernal”) ponds in central Massachusetts, USA

  • Robert T. Brooks
Article

Abstract

Seasonal forest ponds (SFPs) are isolated, ephemeral lentic habitats in upland forest ecosystems. These ponds occur commonly throughout temperate forests. Faunal communities of these ponds are dominated by invertebrates. Composition of these communities varies temporally both between years and also seasonally within a single hydrologic year, composition is most affected by pond permanence or hydroperiod. Benthic macroinvertebrates (BMIs) were sampled up to three times a year in five SFPs between 1994 and 1996. The ponds were of short, intermediate, and long hydroperiod. Hydroperiod also varied among years, based on precipitation patterns. During the study, 64,000 specimens of 57 taxa were collected. No pattern was identified in the variation of BMI abundance among years and pond hydroperiod; abundance increased with successive surveys within years. Taxon richness and diversity varied significantly with pond hydroperiod, increasing with increasing hydroperiod. Diversity measures increased over the three years of the study but without obvious pattern across the successive surveys within years. Insects dominated the samples, but large numbers of other Arthropoda and Oligochaeta were also collected. Chironomidae were dominant in most ponds, years, and surveys; chironomid dominance was significantly greater in shorter hydroperiod ponds. Seasonal forest ponds function as aquatic islands in a “sea” of terrestrial forest. The effect of hydroperiod on the composition of the benthic macroinvertebrate community is analogous to that of size on marine island fauna, longer hydroperiod ponds generally have richer invertebrate communities just as larger marine islands typically have richer faunas. However, the effect is confounded by the close relationship between pond hydroperiod and pond size/volume.

Key Words

benthic macroinvertebrates seasonal forest ponds hydroperiod temporal variation island biogeography 

Literature cited

  1. Bazzanti, M., M. Seminara, and S. Baldoni. 1997. Chironomids (Diptera: Chironomidae) from three temporary ponds of different wet phase duration in central Italy. Journal of Freshwater Ecology 12:89–99.Google Scholar
  2. Blem, C. R. and L. B. Blem. 1991. Cation concentrations and acidity in breeding ponds of the spotted salamander, Ambystoma maculatum (Shaw) (Amphibia: Ambysotmatidae), in Virginia. Brimleyana 17:67–76.Google Scholar
  3. Brooks, R. T., J. Stone, and P. Lyons. 1998. An inventory of seasonal forest ponds on the Quabbin Reservoir watershed, Massachusetts. Northeastern Naturalist 5:219–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Calhoun, A. 2000. Best Management Practices (BMPs) for timber harvesting near vernal pools. Unpublished draft report, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Bangor, ME, USA.Google Scholar
  5. Collinson, N. H., J. Biggs, A. Corfield, M. J. Hodson, D. Walker, M. Whitfield, and P. J. Williams. 1995. Temporary and permanent ponds: an assessment of the effects of drying out on the conservation value of aquatic macroinvertebrate communities. Biological Conservation 74:125–133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cook, R. P. 1983. Effects of acid precipitation on embryonic mortality of Ambystoma salamanders in the Connecticut Valley of Massachusetts. Biological Conservation 27:77–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cowardin, L. M., V. Carter, F. C. Golet, and E. T. LaRoe. 1979. Classification of Wetlands and Deepwater Habitats of the United States. U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, DC, USA. FWS/OBS-79/31.Google Scholar
  8. deMaynadier, P. G. and M. L. Hunter, Jr. 1995. The relationship between forest management and amphbian ecology: a review of the North American literature. Environmental Reviews 3:230–261.Google Scholar
  9. deMaynadier, P. G. and M. L. Hunter, Jr. 1999. Forest canopy closure and juvenile emggration by pool-breeding amphibians in Maine. Journal of Wildlife Management 63:441–450.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dobson, M. 1994. Microhabitat as a determinant of diversity: stream invertebrates colonizing leaf packs. Freshwater Biology 32:565–572.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ebert, T. A. and M. L. Balko. 1987. Temporary pools as islands in space and time: the biota of vernal pools in San Diego, Southern California, USA. Archiv fur Hydrobiologie 110:101–123.Google Scholar
  12. Folkerts, G. W. 1997. Citronelle ponds: little-known wetlands of the central Gulf coastal plain, USA. Natural Areas Journal 17:6–16.Google Scholar
  13. Gay, D. E. 1998. A comparison of the hydrology and aqueous geochemistry of temporary ponds on the Prescott Peninsula of the Quabbin Reservoir watershed in central Massachusetts. M.S. Thesis. University of Massachusetts. Amherst, MA, USA.Google Scholar
  14. Gessner, M. O. and M. Dobson. 1993. Colonisation of fresh and dried leaf litter lotic macroinvertebrates. Archiv fur Hydrobiologie 127:1412–149.Google Scholar
  15. Hecnar, S. J. and R. T. M’Closkey. 1996. Amphibian species richness and distribution in relation to pond water chemistry in southwestern Ontario, Canada. Freshwater Biology 36:7–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jeffries, M. 1991. The ecology and conservation value of forestry ponds in Scotland, United Kingdom. Biological Conservation 58:191–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kenk, R. 1949. The Animal Life of Temporary and Permanent Ponds in Southern Michigan. University of Michigan, Museum of Zoology, Ann Arbor, MI USA. Misc. Publ. No. 71.Google Scholar
  18. Kittredge, D. M., Jr. 1996. Protection of habitat for rare wetland fauna during timber harvesting in Massachusetts (USA). Natural Areas Journal 16:310–317.Google Scholar
  19. Lassen, H. H. 1975. The diversity of freshwater snails in view of the equilibrium theory of island biogeography. Oecologia 19:1–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Leeper, D. A. and B. E. Taylor. 1998a. Abundance, biomass, and production of aquatic invertebrates in Rainbow Bay, a temporary wetland in South Carolina, USA. Archiv fur Hydrobiologie 143:335–362.Google Scholar
  21. Leeper, D. A. and B. E. Taylor. 1998b. Insect emergence from a South Carolina (USA) temporary wetland pond, with emphasis on the Chironomidae (Diptera). Journal of the North American Benthological Society 17:54–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. MacArthur, R. H. and E. O. Wilson. 1967. The Theory of Island Biogeography. Princeton University Press. Princeton NJ, USA.Google Scholar
  23. Mahoney, D. L., M. A. Mort, and B. E. Taylor. 1990. Species richness of calanoid copepods, cladocerans and other branchiopods in Carolina Bay temporary ponds. American Midland Naturalist 123:244–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. March, F. and D. Bass. 1995. Application of island biogeography theory to temporary pools. Journal of Freshwater Ecology 10:83–85.Google Scholar
  25. Margalef, R. 1968. Perspectives in Ecological Theory. The University of Chicago Press. Chicago, IL, USA.Google Scholar
  26. Masters, C. O. 1968. Pond Life: a Guide to the Inhabitants of Temporary Ponds. F. F. H. Publishing, Inc., Jersey City, NJ, USA.Google Scholar
  27. Merritt, R. W. and K. W. Cummins. 1984. An Introduction to the Aquatic Insects of North America. Candle/Hunt Publishing Company, Daybook, IA, USA.Google Scholar
  28. Nilsson, A. N. 1984. Species richness and succession of aquatic beetles in some kettlehole ponds in northern Sweden. Holartic Ecology 7:149–156.Google Scholar
  29. Pechmann, J. H. K., D. E. Scott, J. W. Gibbons, and R. D. Semlitsch. 1989. Influence of wetland hydroperiod on diversity and abundance of metamorphosing juvenile amphibians. Wetlands Ecology and Management 1:3–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Peckarsky, B. L., P. R. Fraissinet, M. A. Penton, and D. J. Conklin Jr. 1990. Freshwater Macroinvertebrates of Northeastern North America. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, USA.Google Scholar
  31. Pennak, R. W. 1989. Fresh-water Invertebrates of the United States, 3rd Ed. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. NY, USA.Google Scholar
  32. Rowe, C. L. and W. A. Dunson. 1995. Impacts of hydroperiod on growth and survival of larval amphibians in temporary ponds of central Pennsylvania, USA. Oecologia 102:397–403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Sadinski, W. J. and W. A. Dunson. 1992. A multilevel study of effects of low pH on amphibians of temporary ponds. Journal of Herpetology 26:413–422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Schneider, D. W. and T. M. Frost. 1996. Habitat duration and community structure in temporary ponds. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 15:64–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Scott, A. F. and E. Twombly. 1994. Pond-swelling amphibians of Land Between the Lakes (Kentucky and Tennessee): a quantitative survey. Journal of the Tennessee Academy of Science 69:52–58.Google Scholar
  36. Semlitsch, R. D. 1998. Biological delineation of terrestrial buffer zones for pond-breeding salamanders. Conservation Biology 12:1113–1119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Semlitsch, R. D., D. E. Scott, J. H. K. Pechmann, and J. W. Gibbons. 1996. Structure and dynamics of an amphibian community: evidence from a 16-year study of a natural pond. p. 217–248. In M. L. Cody and J. A. Smallwood (eds.) Long-term Studies of Vertebrate Communities. Academic Press, San Diego, CA, USA.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Skelly, D. K. 1996. Pond drying, predators, and the distribution of Pseudacris tadpoles. Copeia 1996:599–605.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Smith, D. G. 1995. Keys to the Freshwater Macroinvertebrates of Massachusetts, 2nd Edition. University of Massachusetts, Department of Zoology, Amherst, MA, USA.Google Scholar
  40. Spencer, M. S., L. Blaustein, S. S. Schwartz, and J. E. Cohen. 1999. Species richness and the proportion of predatory animal species in temporary freshwater pools: relationships with habitat size and permanence. Ecology Letters 2:157–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Taylor, B. E., R. A. Estes, J. H. K. Pechmann, and R. D. Semlitsch. 1988. Trophic relations in a temporary pond: larval salamanders and their microinvertebrate prey. Canadian Journal of Zoology 66:2191–2198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Wiggins, G. B., R. J. Mackay, and I. M. Smith. 1980. Evolutionary and ecological strategies of animals in annual temporary pools. Archiv fur Hydrobiologie, Supplement 58:97–206.Google Scholar
  43. Wilbur, H. M. 1972. Competition, predation, and the structure of the Ambystoma-Rana sylvatica community. Ecology 53:3–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Williams, D. D. 1987. The Ecology of Temporary Waters. Croom Helm, London, UK.Google Scholar
  45. Williams, D. D. 1996. Environmental constraints in temporary fresh waters and their consequences for insect fauna. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 15:634–650.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Zar, J. H. 1996. Biostatistical Analysis, 3rd Edition. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, USA.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Society of Wetland Scientists 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Research StationUniversity of MassachusettsAmherstUSA

Personalised recommendations