Comparing aquatic macroinvertebrate community dynamics in intermittent vs. perennial headwater streams

Dr. Steve Weeks and Gabrielle Russell


To understand climate change’s potential impacts on stream biodiversity in northeast Ohio it is necessary to understand differences between perennial (i.e., streams that do not dry) and intermittent (i.e., streams that dry) headwater stream aquatic macroinvertebrate communities. This is because climate change is likely to increase the presence of intermittent headwater streams due to increased drought in the summer. By identifying aquatic macroinvertebrates not present at intermittent headwater streams, we can learn which aquatic macroinvertebrates are most at risk due to drought. We will also examine the various habitats that they use to withstand drought conditions.

As a tiered mentor student, you would assist in the collection of the aquatic macroinvertebrates and learn the Ohio EPA’s methodology for doing so. We will also be surveying stream’s hydrology (flow) and geomorphology (physical channel features). There will also be opportunities to learn aquatic macroinvertebrate identification, data analysis and see some of the area’s beautiful metro parks!


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