Return to Conservation Biology Research on Invertebrates

Olson, E.J., E.S. Engstrom, M.R. Doeringsfeld, and R. Bellig. 1993. The abundance and distribution of macroinvertebrates in relation to macrophyte communities in Swan Lake, Nicollet county, MN. Final report submitted to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 8 pp.


We compared the macroinvertebrate communities among vegetation types in Swan Lake, a large prairie marsh in south central Minnesota. Activity traps and sweep nets were used to sample macroinvertebrates during the summer months of 1992 and 1993. Twenty four sites on the lake were sampled along six established transects. Each site was located in one of four different habitats, including three major macrophyte communities: Typha angustifolia, Scirpus acutus, Potamogeton spp., and an open water site having little or no vegetation. The diversity, relative abundance, and biomass of the invertebrates collected from each vegetation type were compared to assess which type of vegetation supported the greatest numbers and most diverse invertebrate fauna. A total of 16 orders, 46 families and 93 genera were identified. Results suggest that the open water sites produced the largest number of organisms, whereas the Typha sites produced the largest total biomass of invertebrates. Nine orders showed a significant difference in abundance between vegetation communities, but there was not a significant difference of any order in biomass between vegetation types. There was a significant difference in the mean diversities between vegetation community types. Typha sites supported the most diverse populations of macroinvertebrates and the open sites produced the least diverse populations. The abundance of six orders was significantly different between years and may be attributed to fluctuating water levels. Our results suggest that the occurrence and abundance of certain macrophyte communities may enhance the quality of a marsh for consumers of macroinvertebrates.

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