Response of macroinvertebrates and fish to inoculated versus natural colonization of macrophytes in a wetland creation project

Vincent, Jennifer A.
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University of Guelph

The McKellar River Wetland Habitat Project created two wetlands designed to increase regional diversity of shallow aquatic habitats and to determine whether the cost of purchasing aquatic plant materials would result in ecological advantages to wetland creation. Using a combination of recently and historically collected benthic macroinvertebrate and forage fish, population density and diversity data this thesis evaluated whether inoculating a constructed wetland with macrophytes yielded temporal (8 years) differences in community composition relative to passive colonization of a similarly constructed wetland. Based on total abundance and species diversity, May 1994 was the only year in which the planted embayment had a significantly more abundant and diverse macroinvertebrate community than the passively colonized embayment. Total forage fish catch and diversity in the passively colonized embayment were no different or higher than the planted embayment in any year. Occasional significant differences in species abundance and composition were observed in the macroinvertebrate and forage fish communities that potential reflected vegetation and/or other habitat preferences of those species. This study found that planting may have made a difference early on in the succession of the created wetland but that these differences were lost within two years.

McKellar River Wetland Habitat Project, wetlands, regional diversity, constructed wetland, macrophytes, inoculation, passive colonization, macroinvertebrate, forage fish communities