The Influence of Surface Water and Ground Water Interactions on the Composition and Abundance of the Meiofaunal Community in the Hyporheic Ecotone of a Second Order Michigan Stream
Babbitt, Daniel K.
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The effects of ground water and surface water interactions on the lotic benthic community have been generally overlooked by ecologists. The meiofaunal community and the hyporheic zone have received little scientific attention in general. This study is a part of a larger research project examining the effect of surface water and ground water interactions on sediment organic matter dynamics. The present research was performed to determine if the benthic microinvertebrate community varies in abundance and/or composition in four reaches of a small Michigan stream that differ by combinations of hydrology and watershed dynamics. Population density and diversity was determined by identifying meiofauna taken from stream sediment cores. The data showed trends indicating that invertebrate population abundance and diversity were lower in number in the upwelling reaches than in the downwelling reaches. This pattern could be a result of lower concentrations of organic matter available for consumption linked with decreased dissolved oxygen levels for respiration in the upwelling reaches. Evidence was also found that in the reaches of the stream than ran through the wooded area, the substrate had a sizably greater meiofaunal abundance and diversity. Leaf litter from the canopy may have served as a food source providing the forested reaches with greater resources.
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