Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

High abundance of a single taxon (amphipods) predicts aquatic macrophyte biodiversity in prairie wetlands

February 15, 2022

Conservation programs often aim to protect the abundance of individual species and biodiversity simultaneously. We quantified relations between amphipod densities and aquatic macrophyte (large plants and algae) diversity to test a hypothesis that biodiversity can support high abundance of a single taxonomic group. Amphipods (Gammarus lacustris and Hyalella azteca) are key forage for waterfowl and are declining in the Prairie Pothole Region of North America. We sampled a large gradient of amphipod densities (0–7050 amphipods/m3) in 49 semi-permanent wetlands, and 50% of the study wetlands had high amphipod densities (> 500 amphipods/m3). Generalized linear models revealed G. lacustris and H. azteca densities increased exponentially with macrophyte diversity indices. Further, H. azteca densities were greatest at moderate levels of submersed vegetation biomass. Community analyses showed both amphipod species were positively associated with diverse macrophyte assemblages and negatively associated with high coverage of cattails (Typha spp.), a taxon that creates monotypic stands, as well as bladderwort (Utricularia spp.), a carnivorous plant. Our results indicate that amphipods could be used as an umbrella species for protecting diverse macrophyte communities in semi-permanent and permanent wetlands of North America’s Prairie Pothole Region.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2022
Title High abundance of a single taxon (amphipods) predicts aquatic macrophyte biodiversity in prairie wetlands
DOI 10.1007/s10531-022-02379-9
Authors Danelle M. Larson, Demmey DeJong, Michael J. Anteau, Megan J. Fitzpatrick, Breanna R. Keith, Emily G. Schilling, Barry Thoele
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Conservation Biology
Index ID 70237179
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center; Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center