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SFS Annual Meeting

Wednesday, June 5, 2024
10:30 - 12:00

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C09 Wetland Ecology

10:30 - 10:45 | Salon 10 | EFFECTS OF LANDSCAPE CHARACTERISTICS ON AQUATIC BIOTA IN RESTORED WETLANDS

6/05/2024  |   10:30 - 10:45   |  Salon 10

Effects of Landscape Characteristics on Aquatic Biota in Restored Wetlands Globally, wetlands are one of the most critical ecosystems. Wetlands provide habitat for a large diversity of organisms, sequester carbon, cycle nutrients, trap sediments and abate flooding. Despite their importance, wetlands are one of the most degraded ecosystems in the world. In the United States, wetlands have historically been drained for agricultural and urban expansion. However, as society has learned of all the ecosystem services wetlands provide, this paradigm has shifted and both individuals and entities have advanced efforts not only to create and restore wetlands, but also to preserve these systems. However, little is known regarding what factors affect the biodiversity and ecosystem services in restored or created wetlands. This study evaluates the potential influences of environmental characteristics on the structure of biological communities (macrophytes and macroinvertebrates) in ponds of restored wetland ecosystems using a landscape level approach. Data collected from 2021 through 2023 from 62 ponds across 41 conservation easements throughout central Wisconsin were examined. Surrounding land use, landcover type, road density, proximity to permanent water bodies, watershed, and soil type were compared to indices of biotic diversity to determine which variables at the landscape scale, if any, affect the community structure of macrophytes and macroinvertebrates in these systems and which variables are the best predictors of these communities. Determination of such predictor variables may assist managers in more efficiently allocating resources to restoration efforts and increasing biodiversity.

Jeffrey Lim (Primary Presenter/Author), University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, Jlim293@uwsp.edu;

Macayla Greider (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Ducks Unlimited, mgreider@ducks.org;

Jered Studinski (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, jstudins@uwsp.edu;

10:45 - 11:00 | Salon 10 | EMERGING FROM THE EXTREMES: INSECT EMERGENCE PATTERNS ACROSS A VARIETY OF GEOGRAPHICALLY ISOLATED WETLANDS

6/05/2024  |   10:45 - 11:00   |  Salon 10

EMERGING FROM THE EXTREMES: INSECT EMERGENCE PATTERNS ACROSS A VARIETY OF GEOGRAPHICALLY ISOLATED WETLANDS Geographically isolated wetlands (GIWs) are productive and diverse ecosystems that support both specialist and generalist taxa and have a critical role in global nutrient cycling, carbon storage, and water quality improvement. However, because they lack continuous surface connection to permanent waters, most GIWs have no US federal protection. The hydrology of seasonal GIWs is particularly susceptible to shifts in climate such as changing precipitation patterns, rising temperature, and increasing evapotranspiration rates. Emergent aquatic insect communities provide foundational energetic connections to terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and are largely controlled by hydroperiod timing, length, and extent of inundation. Yet, studies of aquatic emergence in GIWs generally do not focus on the entire insect community or follow the community throughout a hydroperiod. Here, we establish patterns of emergence in six wetlands with differing plant communities (sedge marshes and cypress swamps) across a hydroperiod. Using two decades of hydrologic data and emergence data collected during the 2023 hydroperiod, we predict:1) insect richness and biomass will peak during the last third of the hydroperiod, 2) average individual body size will peak at the end of the hydroperiod just before drying occurs, and 3) insect density will be highest in wetlands with historically longer hydroperiods. Understanding the relationships between hydrology and emergence will identify the role of past and future impacts of climate change on GIWs. GIWs support species with diverse reproductive strategies, life cycles, and adaptations; research quantifying their contributions to both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems is vital to support their protection and conservation.

Elizabeth Sicking (Primary Presenter/Author), Virginia Tech, esicking23@vt.edu;

Kier Klepzig (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Jones Center at Ichauway, kier.klepzig@jonesctr.org;

Stephen Golladay (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Georgia Water Planning and Policy Center at ASU, steve.golladay@jonesctr.org;

Daniel McLaughlin (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Virginia Tech, mclaugd@vt.edu;

Sally Entrekin (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Virginia Tech, sallye@vt.edu;

11:00 - 11:15 | Salon 10 | USING REMOTELY SENSED SPECTRAL INDICES TO ASSESS HYDROLOGICAL RECOVERY AND VEGETATIONAL SUCCESSION IN RESTORED WETLANDS

6/05/2024  |   11:00 - 11:15   |  Salon 10

Using Remotely Sensed Spectral Indices to Assess Hydrological Recovery and Vegetational Succession in Restored Wetlands The application of remote sensing technology in post-restoration monitoring has seen a notable increase in recent years. Through the use of satellite imagery, remote sensing provides a unique approach to track the recovery of both surface water coverage and vegetation growth in restored wetlands. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has emerged as a cornerstone for wetland restoration efforts, driven by the decline of the state's cranberry industry. With the increase in restoration efforts aimed at converting retired cranberry bogs into wetlands, monitoring their recovery is crucial to understand the projects’ efficacy. We accessed high-resolution (3 m) satellite imagery and heightened the frequency of data collection. Additionally, the data encompasses bands capturing visible light (red, green, and blue) as well as Near Infrared (NIR) spectra. With a focus on achieving elevated temporal coverage, we acquired three satellite scenes per month spanning from 2021 to 2023. We systematically partitioned each month into three distinct intervals: the 1st-10th, 11th-20th, and 21st-31st and acquired a scene from each interval for every month. After collecting each scene, we utilized the NDWI index to analyze surface water coverage and the MSAVI2 index to assess vegetation. Our preliminary results indicate an increase in vegetation productivity across the years, while surface water coverage has not exhibited a discernible positive or negative change.

Matthew Potvin (Primary Presenter/Author), Bridgewater State University, m2potvin@student.bridgew.edu;

Darcy Boellstorff (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Bridgewater State University, dboellstorff@bridgew.edu;

Thilina Surasinghe (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Bridgewater State University, tsurasinghe@bridgew.edu;

11:15 - 11:30 | Salon 10 | FACTORS AFFECTING AQUATIC MACROINVERTEBRATE COMMUNITIES IN RESTORED AGRICULTURAL WETLANDS, WITH POTENTIAL INSIGHTS FOR WETLAND BIOMONITORING

6/05/2024  |   11:15 - 11:30   |  Salon 10

Factors affecting aquatic macroinvertebrate communities in restored agricultural wetlands, with potential insights for wetland biomonitoring Wetlands provide numerous ecosystem services and increase local biodiversity. Voluntary easement programs can aid wetland conservation and increase biodiversity, especially in agricultural landscapes. Research into the factors that affect aquatic invertebrate communities in wetlands may aid in easement prioritization and wetland restoration efforts, and inform invertebrate-based wetland assessment tools. We investigated the effects of ambient pesticides (atrazine and neonicotinoids), water chemistry (nitrogen, phosphorus, chloride, alkalinity, and conductivity), and physical characteristics (area and depth) on aquatic macroinvertebrates in 62 ponds on 41 conservation easements in central Wisconsin. Sample sites were limited to ponds that were permanent, restored via simple excavations (i.e. scrapes), isolated from other surface waters, and lacking populations of large benthivore fishes. Invertebrates were sampled from ponds in spring and again in late summer using activity traps and sweep nets. Additionally, macrophyte and fish communities were broadly assessed, as they may have strong effects on invertebrate communities. Initial results suggest that depth positively correlates to fish and macrophyte diversity. Additionally, pesticides were present in fewer than half the ponds, and at very low concentrations. Once the analyses are complete, we will report the directionality and magnitude of the response of aquatic macroinvertebrate communities along the aforementioned gradients. We will also evaluate the performance of an invertebrate-based assessment tool and suggest additional metrics that reliably correlate with anthropogenic stress in these highly altered systems.

Jered Studinski (Primary Presenter/Author), University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, jstudins@uwsp.edu;

Macayla Greider (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Ducks Unlimited, mgreider@ducks.org;

Jeffrey Lim (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, Jlim293@uwsp.edu;

11:30 - 11:45 | Salon 10 | EVALUATING THE SUCCESS OF WETLAND FUNCTIONAL RECOVERY CAN DEPEND ON WHEN ARE WHERE DATA ARE COLLECTED

6/05/2024  |   11:30 - 11:45   |  Salon 10

EVALUATING THE SUCCESS OF WETLAND FUNCTIONAL RECOVERY CAN DEPEND ON WHEN ARE WHERE DATA ARE COLLECTED Determining if or when a wetland has been “restored” is difficult and depends largely on the specific project goals. Restorations conducted by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) have historically centered on returning wetland hydrology, vegetation, soil, and wildlife to a pre-disturbed state, but there is increasing interest in reestablishing ecosystem services such as nutrient retention and carbon storage. However, as pre-disturbed functional rates are often unknown, goals frequently default to maximizing processing rates, especially in wetlands adjacent to eutrophic waters. We conducted an intensive space-for-time assessment of the nutrient retention potential of 35 restored agricultural floodplain wetlands enrolled in the WRP in Tennessee and Kentucky. Wetland ages ranged from 0 to 23 years post-restoration. Higher nitrogen and phosphorus retention were generally associated with increased restoration age, but there were distinct recovery trends among wetland sub-habitats and hydrology regimes, particularly within the first 10 years post-restoration. Younger wetlands had the potential to be substantial nutrient sinks when flooded, but several were nutrient sources. Soil moisture, pH, and nutrient content were positively correlated with nutrient retention potential. Following high variation within the first decade, nutrient retention rates stabilized within and across all wetlands, coalescing into a state of consistent, but much lower removal from 10 – 23 years post-restoration. Results suggest that evaluating wetland restoration success in terms of nutrient retention goals may be misleading if assessed during the first decade because early estimates may not reflect longer-term functional benefits.

Justin Murdock (Primary Presenter/Author), Tennessee Technological University, jnmurdock@tntech.edu;

Robert Brown (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Tennessee Tech University, brownrs1991@gmail.com;

Shrijana Duwadi (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Tennessee Tech University, duwadishrijana@gmail.com;

Spencer Womble (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Tennessee Tech University, Spencer.Womble@uga.edu;

11:45 - 12:00 | Salon 10 | AQUATIC MACROINVERTEBRATE COMMUNITY COMPOSITION IN YOUNG, SHORT HYDROPERIOD WETLANDS REFLECTS ORGANISMS’ TOLERANCE OF DESICCATION AND RATE OF DEVELOPMENT

6/05/2024  |   11:45 - 12:00   |  Salon 10

AQUATIC MACROINVERTEBRATE COMMUNITY COMPOSITION IN YOUNG, SHORT HYDROPERIOD WETLANDS REFLECTS ORGANISMS’ TOLERANCE OF DESICCATION AND RATE OF DEVELOPMENT The reclaimed upland landscape of areas open-pit mined for bitumen in northern Alberta consists of young forest areas interspersed with newly forming wetlands that vary in hydroperiod, or the length of time that they contain surface water. Wetland hydroperiod strongly influences aquatic macroinvertebrate biodiversity and community composition, but the mechanisms are poorly defined. We related wetland hydroperiod to aquatic macroinvertebrate community composition in 80 young boreal wetlands located in reclaimed and reference areas that varied in age (2-40 year old), water quality (salinity, nutrient status), riparian disturbance, and permanence (ephemeral, semipermanent, permanent). We predicted community composition (determined from D-frame dip net samples) to be primarily structured by organisms’ tolerance to desiccation and duration of life cycle, represented as functional traits. Wetlands were classified according to hydroperiod determined from continuous-recording water level loggers. Preliminary results supported predictions, where the presence and relative abundance of passive dispersers intolerant to desiccation (amphipods, some gastropods and hirudineans) and of univoltine active dispersers (some anisopterans) were strongly correlated with the longest hydroperiods. Occurrence of all aquatic macroinvertebrate taxa and functional groups was weakly positively correlated with longer hydroperiods, likely due to having longer periods of time available to establish populations in these habitats. Reclaimed and younger reference wetlands were most predictably characterized by shorter hydroperiods with elevated salinity, reflecting the influences of landscape construction and disturbance on wetland hydroperiod and community composition in these newly-forming landscapes. This research contributes to the growing body of reclamation assessment tools in the Athabasca Oil Sands region.

Hannah Porter (Primary Presenter/Author), University of Calgary, hannah.porter@ucalgary.ca;

Evan Bishko (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Calgary, evan.bishko1@ucalgary.ca;

Veronica Dvorak (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Calgary, veronica.dvorak@ucalgary.ca;

Maverick Fong (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Calgary, kwokkei.fong@ucalgary.ca;

Elizabeth Gillis (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Calgary, elizabeth.gillis@ucalgary.ca;

Genevieve Rodrigues (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Calgary, genevieve.rodrigues@ucalgary.ca;

Nika Tovchyhrechko (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Calgary, nika.tovchyhrechko@ucalgary.ca;

Laura van't Riet (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Calgary, laura.vantriet@ucalgary.ca;

Michael Wendlandt (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Calgary, michael.wendlandt@ucalgary.ca;

Andy Yu (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Calgary, andy.yu1@ucalgary.ca;

Jan Ciborowski (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Calgary, jan.ciborowski@ucalgary.ca;