EFFECT OF INVASIVE ELODEA CANADENSIS ON AQUATIC INSECT COMMUNITIES
Aquatic invasive species can have negative effects on the environment, economy, and human health, and therefore have become a global concern. The aquatic macrophyte, Elodea canadensis (Canadian Waterweed), is invasive in Alaska, particularly in coastal wetland ponds on the Copper River Delta (CRD). These ponds provide a suite of ecosystem services that could be altered by E. canadensis. The goal of this study was to assess effects of E. canadensis on aquatic insect community structure in CRD coastal wetland ecosystems. Aquatic insects were collected monthly from May to September 2016 from monotypic beds of E. canadensis and four native macrophytes. Two beds of each macrophyte species were sampled from each of four ponds. Aquatic insect abundance and species richness was higher in native macrophytes than in invasive Elodea, however, Chironomidae numerically dominated both Elodea and native macrophyte beds. This research will provide essential data on the impact of E. canadensis in coastal ponds of the CRD and has implications for fish and waterbirds that rely on aquatic insects as their primary food resource.
Jennifer Piacente (Primary Presenter/Author), Loyola University Chicago , firstname.lastname@example.org;
Martin B. Berg ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Loyola University Chicago, email@example.com;