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SEASONAL VARIATION IN BENTHIC COMMUNITY STRUCTURE OF A TWO-STAGE DITCH

Two primary threats to northwestern Ohio watersheds are hydrological variation and nutrient enrichment from agricultural runoff. Two-stage ditches are one method utilized for reducing discharge and sediment loading into primary tributaries during precipitation events, but little is known about the biology of these systems. The purpose of this study was to document spatial and seasonal variation in benthic community structure of a two-stage ditch in the Blanchard River watershed (Hardin County, Ohio). During June and October 2016, 12 sites spanning the length of the two-stage ditch, as well as neighboring sites within a traditional ditch, were sampled for periphyton, macroinvertebrates and physicochemical parameters were recorded. Preliminary analyses from June revealed that sites from the traditional ditch were different than sites within the two-stage ditch. Two-stage ditch sites had lower turbidity, cooler temperatures and a macroinvertebrate community dominated by isopods, oligochaetes and physid snails. In contrast, upstream sites were dominated by lymnaeid snails and had higher macroalgal cover. These differences could be due to groundwater upwelling or changes in canopy cover, with two stage ditch sites more heavily shaded by dense herbaceous vegetation.

Leslie Riley (Primary Presenter/Author), Ohio Northern University, l-riley.1@onu.edu;


Colin Light ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Ohio Northern University, c-light@onu.edu;


Connor Ney ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Ohio Northern University, Department of Biological & Allied Health Sciences, c-ney@onu.edu;


Kalyn Rossiter ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Ohio Northern University, k-rossiter@onu.edu;


Ken Oswald ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Ohio Northern University, Department of Biological & Allied Health Sciences, k-oswald@onu.edu;


Robert Verb ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Ohio Northern University, r-verb@onu.edu;