Poster Session & Social
4:40 PM - 6:30 PM Wed
POSTER PRESENTER #16
CO-AUTHORS: Sydney Paoli, UW-Stevens Point; Shayla Wagner, UW-Stevens Point; Sarah A. Orlofske, UW-Stevens Point
TITLE: Wetland management practices associated with parasite diversity
ABSTRACT: Wetlands support high species diversity including flatworm (trematode) parasites that rely on multiple hosts and feeding interactions in their life cycles. Therefore, wetland management could influence both host and parasite diversity. Wetlands at Mead Wildlife Area are managed through water level control management. Our research objective is to investigate how flatworm diversity responds to wetland drawdowns. We sampled 6 locations, three in large hydrologically stable wetlands that served as reference sites. Our three treatment locations included a recently created flooded depressional wetland, one wetland in full drawdown, and one wetland in partial drawdown. Up to fifty snails were collected from each site and screened for parasite infection. Based on morphological identification of the parasites, we found an average of more than five parasite taxa present in the reference wetlands. The newly-created wetland had only one taxon, and the two wetlands with water management applied had three taxa present. The wetland in partial drawdown had two species of snails present. Our results suggest that wetland management can alter parasite communities by changing snail host presence or absence. Snails represent important food resources and detritivores in these ecosystems. Our inferences are limited by low replication, but sampling during future seasons will allow us to track individual wetlands over time and parasite community responses to the hydrologic changes. Wetland managers could potentially utilize parasite diversity to assess the effectiveness of drawdowns in changing species diversity and feeding interactions.
BIO: Roxanne Gasperetti is an undergraduate majoring in Wildlife Ecology and Management at the UW-Stevens Point. She has been involved in research since spring of 2021. Her interests include wetland wildlife with a specific focus on birds. She enjoys learning about how management strategies influence species interactions.