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Aquatic macroinvertebrates

Stephany Cook
Ecology class, BIO 342, Biology Department, DePauw University
Fall semester 2014

Introduction
There are several different types of ponds in the DePauw Nature Park.  The Quarry Bottom is home to a large permanent pond and multiple temporary ponds.  There are several permanent ponds in forested areas surrounding the quarry. I conducted a study to characterize the water quality and macroinvertebrate communities in the different types of ponds in the park.   

Hypothesis
I hypothesized that the ponds in the Quarry Bottom and forest would differ in water quality and macroinvertebrate communities.

Methods
I collected data from two permanent ponds and three temporary ponds in the Quarry Bottom, one permanent forest pond, and one temporary wetland.  I measured water quality and pH.  I collected and searched for macroinvertebrates in mud and leaves using a shovel and sieves. 

Results
I found no macroinvertebrates in the temporary ponds in the Quarry Bottom.  Macroinvertebrates were more abundant in the forest pond than in the permanent ponds in the Quarry Bottom.  Blood worm midge larvae were the most abundant macroinvertebrate in the permanent forest pond.  Dissolved oxygen content was highest in the permanent forest pond.  The pH of the water and mud in the quarry ponds was more basic than the forest pond.  Oxidation-reduction potential values were positive in the forest ponds and negative in the quarry ponds. 

Discussion
The forest pond supported a more abundant and diverse community of macroinvertebrates compared to the ponds in the Quarry Bottom.  The forest pond is more shaded by trees and receives more nutrient input from leaves.  The ponds in the Quarry Bottom are more basic because of the high limestone content and receive lower nutrient input from leaves.