Paper No. 50-2
Presentation Time: 8:30 AM-5:00 PM
ANALYZING THE EFFECT OF WATER CONSTRAINTS AND SEASONAL FLUCTUATIONS ON INVERTEBRATE POPULATIONS WITHIN AN INTERDISCIPLINARY FRAMEWORK
One of the most significant ecological management issues in desert environments is interpreting the effects of water availability on the larger ecosystem. As one part of a larger interdisciplinary effort to understand the environment’s functioning as an active system, we have undertaken seasonal studies of aquatic invertebrates within 1 km^2 of the Mojave National Preserve. Study objectives are to understand the effects of water constraints and availability on invertebrate populations, particularly with respect to density and distribution.In the study area, water is most available during the late fall and winter seasons due to precipitation. Water dwelling invertebrates are able to thrive during these seasons due to the increased flow present in the area’s perennial springs. The spring network is more extensive than was thought prior to this study. We present new data about the spring and fall population distributions and densities of aquatic invertebrates. In addition, we present new aquatic invertebrate population distributions that correlate with heretofore unidentified perennial spring locations. This work represents the beginning of a novel interdisciplinary approach to water resources understanding in arid environments. Planned future data analysis will be performed with respect to area vertebrate and algal/microbial populations, and will include expanded hydrologic studies to identify additional seasonal controls and relationships between invertebrate populations and other elements of the larger ecosystem.