Storm-water drainage catch basins are manmade structures that often contain water and organic matter, making them suitable environments for various organisms. We censused organisms inhabiting catch basins in southern Rhode Island in 2002 in an effort to begin to describe these communities. Catch-basin inhabitants were mostly detritivores, including annelids, arthropods, and mollusks that could withstand low oxygen levels and droughts. Our results suggest that catch-basin inhabitants were mostly washed in with rainwater, and populations increased over the summer season as biotic activity resulted in increased nutrient levels later in the summer. In contrast, mosquitoes and other Diptera larvae were abundant earlier in the summer because the adults actively sought catch basins for oviposition sites. Mosquito larvae were likely to be abundant in catch basins with shallow, stagnant water that had relatively low dissolved oxygen and pH, and relatively high total suspended solids, carbon, and nitrogen.
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Natural communities in catch basins in southern Rhode Island