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Habitat selection by two species of burrowing mayfly nymphs in the Les Cheneaux Islands region of northern Lake Huron

January 1, 2004

This study focused primarily on the habitat preferences of Hexagenia limbata andEphemera simulans, two species prevalent in northern Lake Huron, to gain a better understanding of the key components that determined their distribution and abundance. Both species preferred habitats based upon depth and sediment type. In addition, the burrowing activity of H. limbata was examined using in-situ, underwater sampling techniques specifically designed for the study. SCUBA divers made resin casts and took clear sediment cores in order to study how the burrow densities of H. limbata related to the sediment: water volume ratios. H. limbata contributed to the bioturbation and sediment porosity in specific, fine-sediment habitats. Younger age classes of this species utilized the burrows of their larger cohorts, an adaptation that could allow for energy savings and optimized growth.