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Biological connectivity of seasonally ponded wetlands across spatial and temporal scales

August 30, 2018

Many species that inhabit seasonally ponded wetlands also rely on surrounding upland habitats and nearby aquatic ecosystems for resources to support life stages and to maintain viable populations. Understanding biological connectivity among these habitats is critical to ensure that landscapes are protected at appropriate scales to conserve species and ecosystem function. Biological connectivity occurs across a range of spatial and temporal scales. For example, at annual time scales many organisms move between seasonal wetlands and adjacent terrestrial habitats as they undergo life‐stage transitions; at generational time scales, individuals may disperse among nearby wetlands; and at multigenerational scales, there can be gene flow across large portions of a species’ range. The scale of biological connectivity may also vary among species. Larger bodied or more vagile species can connect a matrix of seasonally ponded wetlands, streams, lakes, and surrounding terrestrial habitats on a seasonal or annual basis. Measuring biological connectivity at different spatial and temporal scales remains a challenge. Here we review environmental and biological factors that drive biological connectivity, discuss implications of biological connectivity for animal populations and ecosystem processes, and provide examples illustrating the range of spatial and temporal scales across which biological connectivity occurs in seasonal wetlands.

Publication Year 2018
Title Biological connectivity of seasonally ponded wetlands across spatial and temporal scales
DOI 10.1111/1752-1688.12682
Authors Lora L. Smith, Amanda Subalusky, Carla L. Atkinson, Julia E. Earl, David M. Mushet, David E. Scott, Stacey L. Lance, Steve A. Johnson
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of the American Water Resources Association
Index ID 70199066
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center