We conducted a field study to examine the influence of hydroperiod and concomitant changes in abiotic (wetland size, pH, conductivity, dissolved oxygen and water temperature) and biotic (predatory fish presence) characteristics on macroinvertebrate communities in isolated wetlands in southern New Hampshire. Invertebrates were sampled using dipnet sweeps in 42 wetlands with short (<4 months), intermediate (4–11 months) or long (permanent) hydroperiods in 1998 and 1999. We found that invertebrate genera richness, and to a lesser degree abundance, increased linearly along the hydrological gradient, and in response to temperature and dissolved oxygen. Relative abundance of genera also differed markedly with respect to hydroperiod. Most notably, invertebrate communities changed from Acilius-dominated communities to Notonecta-dominated communities. Invertebrate relative abundances in permanent wetlands also differed with respect to the occurrence of predatory fish. Some genera (e.g., Libellula, and Dytiscus) were more likely to occur in permanent wetlands without fish, whereas other genera (e.g., Buena, and Basiaeshna) were more likely to occur in wetlands with predatory fish. Because aquatic invertebrate communities differed markedly with respect to wetland hydroperiod, and in relation to the occurrence of predatory fish, it is essential to retain a diversity of wetlands in the landscape to ensure the long-term persistence of aquatic invertebrate biodiversity.
Keywords: Fish - Hydroperiod - Invertebrates - Macroinvertebrate - Wetland