Assessing the impacts of disturbance on a floodplain wetland complex: linking macroinvertebrate traits with ecosystem function

dc.contributor.advisorBaird, Donald
dc.contributor.authorRideout, Natalie Kathleen
dc.description.abstractFloodplains are disturbance-driven ecosystems with high spatial and temporal habitat diversity, making them both highly productive and hosts to high biodiversity. The resulting habitat complexity arising from a diversity of disturbance regimes makes floodplains ideal ecosystems to examine interrelationships among biodiversity, biological traits and ecosystem function. Despite the rise in trait-based ecology, taxonomic resolution has imposed limitations, particularly in wetland and floodplain ecosystems where communities are vastly understudied compared to their riverine counterparts. This thesis describes the use of high-throughput genomic sequencing methods to reliably characterize community composition in the Grand Lake Meadows and Portobello Creek wetland complex, New Brunswick, Canada, in unprecedented detail. Overall, this thesis identified connectivity and hydrology as the driving forces in the formation of floodplain wetland habitat patches, influencing historical shoreline change, temperature variation, nutrient and metal retention, macrophyte growth, and carbon storage. These habitat characteristics subsequently filtered for invertebrate traits, shaping the local community and thus ecosystem function. Healthy wetlands with higher primary productivity were associated with greater functional evenness, while habitat patches with increased decomposition rates had low richness, likely comprising highly disturbed habitat. In conclusion, this thesis highlights the importance of studying floodplain and wetland ecosystems as they contain linkages that are drastically different than their in-channel counterparts, and subsequently explores how to define ecosystem health in wetland habitats.
dc.description.copyright© Natalie K. Rideout, 2020
dc.format.extentxii, 146 pages
dc.publisherUniversity of New Brunswick
dc.titleAssessing the impacts of disturbance on a floodplain wetland complex: linking macroinvertebrate traits with ecosystem function
dc.typemaster thesis of Science of New Brunswick


Original bundle
Now showing 1 - 1 of 1
Thumbnail Image
14.09 MB
Adobe Portable Document Format