Colorado mountains
From Long-Term Data to Understanding: Toward a Predictive Ecology
2015 LTER ASM Estes Park, CO - August 30 - September 2, 2015

Urban Limnology, Dragonflies and Citizen Science: Effects of Elevation, Land Cover, Land Use on Dragonflies Associated With Urban/Metropolitan Stormwater Ponds

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Emma Brockley
Robert E. Bohanan

Stormwater retention ponds are an increasing feature of landscapes in the U.S. Stormwater ponds are most typically studied in hopes of improving engineering practices. This community-based study integrates ecology, sociology, hydrology and economics. A topic of specific interest is dragonfly species richness distribution and phenology.  We recorded presence/absence data of adult dragonfly species at urban/metropolitan Stormwater ponds in Verona, Wisconsin (south-central Wisconsin) in the summer of 2015.  We then measured and recorded elevation, pond size, turbidity, water level, temperature and number of dragonfly species and species composition.  These results will then be compared to studies in previous years. We predicted that species richness would increase with pond size because of the increased available space.  Species richness was also expected to increase with increased temperatures.  We found that species richness had a significant positive correlation (n=11ponds, r2=0.42379) with temperature and increased consistently over the summer months.  Species richness ranged from 2 species in May to 11 species in July.  The total number of species observed over the study was 16 species.  We also found that adult dragonfly species richness is correlated with pond elevation, while pond size and species richness show only weak relationships.  Species richness was weakly correlated to water level (r2=0.12188) and turbidity (r2=0.06816) of the ponds.  Previous studies in 2010 and 2011 found strong correlations of dragonfly naiads with elevation and turbidity.  The unique feature of this research is that its agenda was driven by community interest and participation.  The city has revised both their current management of existing ponds and design for future ponds.  An emerging principle of our research represents new opportunities for citizen science or participatory research.

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