Ephemeral aquatic habitats in Wupatki National Monument vary from naturally formed pools in arroyos over 5000 years old, to constructed catchment basins with ages estimated at 60-1000+ years old, and borrow pits and stock ponds 30-60 years old. The different ages of these pools provide different histories of colonization by amphibians and aquatic invertebrates, especially temporary pool specialists such as spadefoot toads and branchiopod crustaceans. Ten pools of five different origins and ages were surveyed in August and/or September 1997 for aquatic organisms; a total of 13 surveys were conducted. Twenty-two taxa were found, with the number of species in a pool during any survey ranging from one to 10. Species composition of the communities changed from one sampling date to the next within individual pools. Community structure is an amalgam of species with different dispersal mechanisms that are influenced by different pool characteristics. Age appears to have little effect overall, but may have influenced branchiopod presence/absence. Distance to permanent water, frequency of disturbance, and current pool size were correlated with presence/absence of some species.
Additional publication details
Survey of aquatic macroinvertebrates and amphibians at Wupatki National Monument, Arizona, USA: An evaluation of selected factors affecting species richness in ephemeral pools