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SFS Annual Meeting

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THE EFFECTS OF SEASONALITY AND TWO-STAGE DITCH MORPHOLOGY ON BENTHIC COMMUNITY STRUCTURE WITHIN THE BLANCHARD RIVER WATERSHED

Two primary threats to northwest Ohio watersheds are hydrologic variation and nutrient enrichment. Some farms within the Blanchard river watershed are testing experimental approaches to reduce nutrient enrichment. At Kurt’s Farm (Hardin County, Ohio), a two-stage ditch was installed with intact floodplain benches to slow current velocity and retain excess sediments, especially during flooding events. While previous studies have documented that ditches can also serve as habitat for other organisms and can make substantial contributions to diversity within watersheds, the effect of ditch morphology on benthic communities is not well known and, in at least one study, appears to not be important. Multivariate analysis revealed two groups which were defined as two-stage ditch sites and upstream sites that were closely related to traditional, open ditches. The results generated from June 2016 samples showed that the two-stage ditch sites were characterized by low turbidity, low water temperature and a detritivore-dominant community, while the open ditch sites were characterized by higher turbidity, higher water temperature, higher dissolved oxygen, and were dominated by macroalgae and herbivorous Lymnaeid snails. Additional data from three subsequent sampling periods will be included to examine seasonality.

Colin Light (Primary Presenter/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;


Lauren Govekar (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Ohio Northern University, l-govekar@onu.edu;


Chad Carroll (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Hancock Soil & Water Conservation District, c-carroll@onu.edu;


Janet Deardorff (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Miami University , j-deardorff@onu.edu;


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


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