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Terrestrial and Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Assemblages as a Function of Wetland Type across a Mountain Landscape


Fens and wet meadows are important mountain wetland types, but influences onassemblage structure of associated invertebrates are poorly understood compared with other aspects of the ecology of these habitats. We sought to determine the relative contributions of terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates to diversity and abundance in these wetlands, the extent to which terrestrial and aquatic invertebrate assemblages differ with wetland type, and to what degree the aquatic assemblages vary as a function of slow sheet flow. We compared assemblages in fens and wet meadows, with and without flow, at 80 backcountry sites dispersed across the 6200 km2 landscape of Yosemite, Sequoia,and Kings Canyon National Parks in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California,U.S.A., using standard aquatic and terrestrial sweep netting. Cicadellid leafhoppers, aphids, and thomisid crab spiders were the most abundant terrestrial taxa. Cicadellids,Lepidoptera, anthomyiid, muscid, chloropid, and ephydrid flies, and thomisids were more abundant in fens than in wet meadows. Only mirid leaf bugs were significantly more abundant in wet meadows than fens. Sphaeriid clams and chironomid midges dominated aquatic assemblages both with and without flow. Chloroperlid stoneflies, mites, clams, and flatworms were all more abundant in flow, and Hemiptera and mosquitos were significantly more abundant in quiescent water. Mosquitos were more abundant in wet meadows, but there were few other population differences as a functionof wetland type. Terrestrial diversity was 1.1 to 2.0 times that of aquatic diversity,depending on metric and habitat. Fens had greater terrestrial abundance, richness,evenness, and diversity than wet meadows; there were fewer differences as a function of wetland type for aquatic fauna. Presence or absence of slow sheet flow had more effect on these aquatic assemblages than did wetland type. Cluster analyses, ordination, and multi-response permutation procedures were generally consistent with the univariate results. Vegetation-based wetland classifications should be extrapolated to faunal assemblages with caution, particularly for aquatic invertebrates.

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