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SFS Annual Meeting

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Drought causes many physical changes to aquatic habitats, including increasing temperatures and decreasing water levels, which can threaten aquatic invertebrate communities. Some aquatic invertebrates, such as diving beetles, can disperse via flight to relocate or discover new bodies of water. Despite observations of aquatic beetles flying during drought, little is known about what actually triggers this dispersal. We examined how decreasing water level and increasing temperature affect diving beetle dispersal, with a laboratory experiment in incubators. We collected diving beetles in San Diego County, CA, USA and used dispersal traps to measure dispersal in response to varying temperature and water levels. At the end of the three week experiment, we identified beetles to species and examined the relationship between dispersal, physical cues and specific-species dispersal tendencies. We found that both water level and temperature positively affected dispersal; however, there was no interactive effect. Our results suggest that drought will lead to higher dispersal for aquatic beetles. With drought becoming more prevalent, drought induced dispersal could have significant effects on the communities structure making understanding this phenomena vital.

Patrick Carroll (Primary Presenter/Author), University of San Diego,;

Ruth Hoover ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of San Diego,;

Kate Boersma ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of San Diego,;