Trophic interactions in southeastern wetlands
Schultheis, Richard D
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Wetlands are naturally dynamic systems. In this study, I explored the effects of predation by a dynamic vertebrate complex on the aquatic invertebrate community of a southeastern wetland. A two-year predator exclusion experiment was used to test for effects of predation by marbled salamanders (Ambystoma opacum), spotted salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum), red-spotted newts (Notophthalmus viridescens viridescens), bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus), mosquitofish (Gambusia sp.) and bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana). Overall invertebrate responses to vertebrate reductions were minimal. Of sixty-five invertebrate taxa observed in the study, abundances of few differed with predator treatments, and these patterns were restricted to mainly April of both years. These findings suggest that vertebrate predation was only seasonally important in this habitat, and complex interactions within the vertebrate community likely limited our ability to detect a response to predation in the invertebrate community.