Diversity of bryozoans in the upper mississippi river watershed
Mello, Hannah L.
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The Mississippi River undergoes constant change, most notably through agriculture, irrigation, and damming. Physical and chemical factors within habitats affect food availability and habitat sustainability for existing native species. Disturbances in aquatic systems allow for establishment of non-native species, contributing to further changes to the ecosystem. Bryozoans are relatively unexplored in the Upper Mississippi River (UMR) watershed. Understanding bryozoan distributions across habitats and latitudes in this watershed will help lay groundwork for understanding how flow patterns, water usage, and temperature changes affect native and invasive bryozoans. My research provides a broad-scale distribution map of bryozoans within the UMR watershed by determining their relative abundance among five habitats: river main channels, backwaters, marshes, lakes, and vernal pools. Results indicate there are thirteen species of bryozoans in the UMR. While community composition was not significantly different across latitudes within the UMR, richness, abundance, and diversity of these species is significantly higher in lakes compared to river main channels and vernal pools. Bryozoans were mostly absent from vernal pools. While different aquatic habitats showed significant differences in bryozoan composition, environmental parameters (temperature, DO, specific conductivity, and pH) did not dictate trends in bryozoan community.