Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Leonard Smock


Vernal pools are often defined as seasonal pools that typically are inundated beginning in the winter and then drying out completely in summer. Though evidence of spatial and temporal variability in the macroinvertebrate communities of vernal pools has been found in previous studies, it has not been studied extensively. The primary objective of this study was to determine the extent of variability in the macroinvertebrate communities within vernal pools closely situated in a forested landscape. An effort was made to explain this variability with respect to certain physiochemical environmental variables of the pools. Significant variability was observed in the macroinvertebrate communities within the vernal pools both spatially and temporally. Water temperature, as an indicator of seasonal changes, was strongly correlated with the observed variations. Higher species richness and diversity were observed in the pools in winter than in spring 2007. Chironomidae was the most diverse family (8 genera) occurring in these vernal pools. At the beginning of inundation, amphipods and copepods were more abundant. β-diversity was low in both winter and spring 2007; α-diversity in winter was high and low in spring 2007.


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