Habitat Selection and Community Composition of Macroinvertebrates Associated With Submerged Macrophytes in North Temperate Lakes

EPA Grant Number: U915342
Title: Habitat Selection and Community Composition of Macroinvertebrates Associated With Submerged Macrophytes in North Temperate Lakes
Investigators: Cheruvelil, Kendra S.
Institution: Michigan State University
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: January 1, 1998 through January 1, 2001
Project Amount: $61,145
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1998) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Fellowship - Ecology and Ecosystems


The objective of this research project is to answer the following questions:

1. How spatially variable are epiphytic macroinvertebrate communities within a lake?

2. Do epiphytic macroinvertebrates select habitats based on plant architecture?

3. Does epiphytic macroinvertebrate community composition predictably vary along a Eurasian water milfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) gradient at the whole-lake scale?


To investigate spatial variability, I studied macroinvertebrate populations in Heron Lake, MI, in August of 1998. We designed and tested a sampler for individual plants. The sampler requires only one snorkeler, and can collect more than 100 samples in an 8-hour day. The sampler is constructed using 500-Fm mesh, two steel hoops (the top hoop is smaller than the bottom hoop for easy inversion), and canvas. The sampler is 65 cm long and 20 cm in diameter, with a drawstring at the bottom to cinch the sampler closed to trap the macrophyte and its associated macroinvertebrates. After collection, individual macrophytes were rinsed with water to detach insects, dried, and weighed to estimate plant biomass. Macroinvertebrates were preserved in ethanol, identified at the lowest possible taxonomic level (usually genus), counted, and measured. Data are being analyzed to assess sampler efficiency and macroinvertebrate spatial variability. To investigate macroinvertebrate habitat selection at the whole-lake scale, multiple lakes in southern Michigan were selected for summer sampling in 1998 and 1999. The lakes represent a gradient of Eurasian water milfoil, with littoral zone coverage from 8-65 percent. This gradient was created using a herbicide (Sonar®) that is selective for Eurasian water milfoil when applied at low concentrations. Using the new sampling method, a minimum of 15 plants of each architecture type—broad leaf, narrow leaf, dissected leaf, and Eurasian water milfoil—are being sampled twice a summer each year. Data will be analyzed to identify patterns among and within the lakes and years of study.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, epiphytic macroinvertebrates, submerged macrophytes, sample size, power, plant architecture, Eurasian water milfoil, meta-analysis., Scientific Discipline, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Habitat, Environmental Monitoring, Ecology and Ecosystems, habitat selection, submerged macrophytes, habitat parameters, community composition, macroinvertebrates, plant diversity

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1998
  • 1999
  • Final