Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Biology

Degree Type

Master of Science


Despite a recent surge of interest in temporary lentic systems, a strong theory linking the biota to its environment has not emerged. Data were collected from ten autumnal wetlands at Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky, U.S.A., in an effort to elucidate the environmental variables (EV's) that affected both between- and within-pond macroinvertebrate distribution and abundance. Canonical correspondence analyses performed with between-pond data failed to find strong relationships between the macroinvertebrates and EV's. Additionally, the theory that hydroperiod would effect richness did not apply to these ponds. Within-pond canonical correspondence analyses, however, yielded strong relationships. Further testing using regression analysis and Mann-Whitney U-tests demonstrated that macroinvertebrates were responding to a depth gradient. The presence of within-pond gradients, coupled with random dispersal, tolerant taxa, and ecological differences between vernal and autumnal wetlands, makes formulating a broad ecological theory difficult.


Medical Sciences