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Analysis of the Associations Between Macroinvertebrates and Macrophytes in a Freshwater Pond
Northwest Science (1995)
  • Robin A. Matthews, Western Washington University
  • Jenifer K. Parsons
The interactions between aquatic macrophytes and macroinvertebrates are complex, with macrophytes often providing both refuge and food, either directly or indirectly, for invertebrates. Macroinvertebrate-plant relationships have been studied extensively in terrestrial environments, but much less so in aquatic environments. The objective in this paper was to explore some of the factors that affect macroinvertebrate-macrophyte relationships in the littoral zone of a freshwater pond. A total of 53 macroinvertebrate Laxa were found associated with six macrophyte species in Cannery Pond, a small, shallow, eutrophic pond in Skagit Co., WA (USA). A graphical inspection of the data revealed that the macroinvertebrate densities and biomasses on the emergent macrophyte species (Scirpus tabernaemontani, Typha latifolia, and Polygonum hydropiperoides) were more similar to each other than to the submerged macrophyte species (Potamogeton natans, Ceratophyllum demersum, and Potamogeton pusillus). Multivariate analyses (MANOVA) confirmed that there were significant differences among the plant taxa based on macroinvertebrate densities and biomasses. Cluster analyses (parametric and nonmetric) further revealed that the strongest grouping was into two groups (emergent and submerged plants) rather than the original six. The greatest differences between submerged and emergent plants were due to differences in the abundances of Mollusca, Annelida, Platyhelminthes, Crustacea and Diptera, all of which were common taxa. Morphological similarities among plants appeared to influence macroinvertebrate-macrophyte associations, with the greatest abundances of macroinvertebrates being found on submerged plants that had a large surface-to-weight ratio and soft stems or leaves. Structural stability and persistence of vegetative structures throughout the year appear to be important for at least some of the macroinvertebrates. Most of the macroinvertebrate taxa in Cannery Pond were substrate generalists that are not confined to a particular species of macrophyte, but instead were found in similar abundances on all morphologically similar macrophytes.
Publication Date
Publisher Statement
Copyright 1995 by the Northwest Scientific Association
Citation Information
Robin A. Matthews and Jenifer K. Parsons. "Analysis of the Associations Between Macroinvertebrates and Macrophytes in a Freshwater Pond" Northwest Science Vol. 69 Iss. 4 (1995)
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