Temporal and spatial variation of wetland macroinvertebrates of the Okefenokee Swamp
Kratzer, Erika Bilger
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Macroinvertebrates of the Okefenokee Swamp have been largely overlooked despite the importance and prominence of the Okefenokee as a wetland habitat. In our two-year study of the wetland macroinvertebrates in the Okefenokee Swamp we analyzed generic richness and abundances of individual macroinvertebrate genera for temporal differences among sample years and months and spatial differences across 5 plant community habitats of 6 sampling vicinities within the Okefenokee. We identified a total of 104 taxa. Chironomid and ceratopogonid midges and water mites numerically dominated the macroinvertebrate community, and chironomids, dytiscids, and libellulids had the highest generic richness. The majority of the taxa analyzed were generalists and did not show temporal (seasonal or nonseasonal) or spatial variation by sites or habitats. Temporal variability in 18 taxa may be driven by their life cycles, hydroperiod, or other environmental conditions. Only 9 taxa varied in abundance by habitat, but clear habitat preferences were not evident. This study lends support to the idea that wetland invertebrate communities are largely composed of generalists able to tolerate wide ranges in habitat conditions.