Evaluating regional differences in macroinvertebrate communities from forested depressional wetlands across eastern and central North America
Forested depressional wetlands are an important seasonal wetland type across eastern and central North America. Macroinvertebrates are crucial ecosystem components of most forested depressional wetlands, but community compositions can vary widely across the region. We evaluated variation in macroinvertebrate faunas across eastern and central North America using 5 published taxa lists from forested depressional wetlands in Michigan, Ontario, Wisconsin, Florida, and Georgia. We supplemented those data with quantitative community descriptions generated from 17 forested depressional wetlands in South Carolina and 74 of these wetlands in Minnesota. Cluster analysis of presence/absence data from these 7 locations indicated that distinct macroinvertebrate communities existed in northern and southern areas. Taxa characteristic of northern forested depressional wetlands included Sphaeriidae, Lumbriculidae, Lymnaeidae, Physidae, Limnephilidae, Chirocephalidae, and Hirudinea (Glossophoniidae and/or Erpodbellidae) and taxa characteristic of southern sites included Asellidae, Crangonyctidae, Noteridae, and Cambaridae. Quantitative sampling in South Carolina and Minnesota indicated that regionally characteristic taxa included some of the most abundant organisms, with Sphaeriidae being the 2nd most abundant macroinvertebrate in Minnesota wetlands and Asellidae being the 2nd most abundant macroinvertebrate in South Carolina wetlands. Mollusks, in general, were restricted to forested depressional wetlands of northern latitudes, a pattern that may reflect a lack of Ca needed for shell formation in acidic southern sites. Differences in community composition probably translate into region-specific differences in the ecological functions performed by macroinvertebrates in forested depressional wetlands.