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Ecology of Stormwater Ponds

Stormwater Detention Pond

Stormwater Detention Pond, Columbia, Maryland, USA

Understanding the mechanisms through which biodiversity at the local scale is sustained in a larger, built ecosystem is of critical importance as jurisdictions invest in sustainability plans. The processes that maintain biodiversity in the built environment necessarily include the human dimension, not only at the local scale (α), but also across habitats (β) and at the regional (γ) scale.

Using a combination of survey and experimental approaches, we are investigating the relative influences of local environmental conditions (i.e., water quality management) and the regional influence of dispersal in explaining aquatic biodiversity at multiple spatial scales in storm water detention ponds.

Zooplankton comprise a link between algae and fish

Zooplankton comprise a link between algae and fish

Major Findings:

We carry out experiments in 600 liter mesocosm tanks

We carry out experiments in 600 liter mesocosm tanks

  1. Road deicer (sodium chloride) induces strong direct and indirect effects on stormwater ponds food webs (Van Meter et al 2011 a, b, 2012, 2104),
  2. Management of ponds for algal blooms at the landscape scale enhances local diversity, but reduces inter-pond diversity (turnover) by homogenizing local environmental conditions (Suski et al, in prep).