Benthic Macro-Invertebrate Biodiversity in Ephemeral and Permanent Pools in Upper Leon Creek, San Antonio, TX




Toder, Alexander

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Leon Creek is an ephemeral waterway in San Antonio, Texas with a high amount of aquatic and terrestrial diversity. Lentic systems are not as well studied as lotic systems, although they are just as important biologically and contribute to ecosystem services. Ephemeral waterways are increasing globally due to water extraction and climate change. Understanding their roles and impacts to biodiversity are crucial to proper management. This study comparesenvironmental variables and benthic invertebrate composition between permanent and ephemeral pools within Leon Creek and how environmental variables affect invertebrate taxa. Surveys occurred in seven ephemeral and three permanent pools once a month from June 2019 to March 2020. Significant differences in some environmental parameters existed between ephemeral and permanent sites during some months. Differences did not exist in taxa diversity parameters overall but each month differences existed during August, September, and October. These differences were driven primarily by precipitation events and the drying of sites over time. Many taxa were grouped within their environmental tolerances and were found in both pool classifications dependent on environmental conditions. Permanent pools acted as a refugia in times of environmental extremes allowing for recolonization of ephemeral pools after precipitation events. Permanent and ephemeral pools are crucial features to assist in diminishing habitat fragmentation and to maintain diversity on the landscape.


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Ephemeral pools, Ephemeral Waterway, Leon Creek, San Antonio, TX, Texas



Environmental Science