Poster Session & Social
4:40 PM - 6:30 PM Wed
POSTER PRESENTER #1
CO-AUTHOR: Amanda Little, UW-Stout
TITLE: Molluscan fauna of ephemeral and permanent wetlands in the Chippewa Moraine
ABSTRACT: Ephemeral ponds are well known for providing habitat for specialized aquatic invertebrates, including fingernail clams (Sphaeriidae). Less is known about the use of ephemeral ponds by other molluscan fauna, including snails. In addition, it is unclear whether adjacent permanent wetlands may contain similar fauna. We surveyed 40 permanent wetlands and ephemeral ponds in the Chippewa Moraine Scientific Natural Area over the course of two years in order to assess patterns in mollusk diversity and species composition. Mollusks were captured in surface activity traps, which were generally set on the bottom of wetlands for a 24-hour period three times per season. Ephemeral ponds contained significantly more mollusks than permanent wetlands, including significantly more snails. Air-breathing snails in the genus Stagnicola were significantly more abundant in ephemeral ponds, while those in the genus Planorbella (also air-breathing) were more abundant in permanent wetlands. Those of the genus Gyraulus were equally abundant in both wetland types. Other authors have found that Stagnicola elodes is common in ephemeral ponds and feeds on mosquito larvae. Interestingly, sphaeriids were not significantly more abundant in ephemeral ponds. The wetlands in the study were part of a vast mosaic, and it is likely that tiny molluscan larvae are well-distributed on waterfowl. In addition, many of the permanent wetlands contained habitat areas that had ephemeral water levels.
BIO: Matt Kuchta has been a Professor of Geology at UW-Stout for 14 years. He received his PhD from UW-Madison and Bachelor’s degree from Lawrence University. His research focuses on terrestrial snails, microbial fuel cells, and the physical properties of soils.