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-   -   Spring in a vernal pool (http://www.wildlifegardeners.org/forum/biodiversity/13350-spring-vernal-pool.html)

Gloria 03-27-2019 12:31 AM

Spring in a vernal pool
Video / Podcast... from The Native Plant Podcast. Information about the frogs and salamanders but also the creatures that feast on them. Native plants food for the insects which feed the frogs which feed bigger predators. You will enjoy this.


Gloria 03-27-2019 08:34 PM

2 Attachment(s)
If this kind of information fascinates you check out this pdf link.


Diversity and Ecology of Vernal Pool Invertebrates
Elizabeth A. Colburn, Stephen C. Weeks, and Sadie K. Reed



A commonly cited benefit of life in vernal pools is the release from predation (and competition) from fish and invertebrates that cannot withstand drying (Williams 1997). This relative freedom from predators allows pool inhabitants unprecedented access to the abundant detrital and algal food (Bärlocher et al. 1978). Vernal pools are not predator-free, however, and some pool invertebrates’ life histories and behavior may be tailored to avoid predation (Soderstrom and Nilsson 1972, Schneider and Frost 1996, Brendonck et al. 2002).
For example, fairy shrimp (Eubranchipus spp.) mature, drop their eggs on the pool bottom, and die by late spring before the water warms, oxygen levels decline, and predaceous salamander and beetle larvae become abundant. The dry eggs overwinter and hatch the following spring.
Young Stagnicola elodes (snails) adapt to pool drying by climbing shrubs and trees to aestivate; they return to the pools in fall. This behavior may help the snails avoid parasitism by sciomyzid fly larvae (Jokinen 1978). Similarly, predator life cycles may track prey populations. The complexity of such interactions highlights how pool alterations can have unexpected ecological effect

The distributions and trophic relationships of aquatic invertebrates vary with physical substrate, vegetation, and food; changes in any of these may alter the community (e.g., Merritt and Cummins 1996). For example, herbivores are more likely to occur in vernal pools with open canopies, abundant vegetation, and algal growth than in small, closed-canopy pools where the main food source is detritus from annual leaf fall. Habitat variables are strong drivers of invertebrate life histories in vernal pools and may be especially important for rare species. Every species must deal with pool drying and the between-year variability in timing of pool filling and total pool duration. Some species, especially molluscs, are sensitive to calcium and pH and do not occur in pools where these are low. Many pools freeze solid in winter, precluding those species lacking freeze-tolerant life stages. Summer produces high daily and seasonal temperature variations. Turbidity and seasonally high solute concentrations, low dissolved oxygen, and variable pH can pose problems for some aquatic species (Williams 1987).

Many animals are permanent residents that remain in the pool sediments and become active as soon as water appears and when other conditions (e.g., temperature) are suitable.
Some, including mollusks such as the fingernail clam ( Sphaerium occidentale) burrow into the mud and become dormant as juveniles or adults.
Others hatch from desiccation-resistant eggs that can lie in the sediment for months and, in some cases, up to decades, serving as what is known as an “egg bank” (e.g., many crustaceans, including the common fairy shrimps Eubranchipus neglectus in the Midwest, E. vernalis in the East, and E. bundyi in the North).
Dormancy that begins only when pools start to dry allows some permanent residents, such as the water flea ( Daphnia pulex) or the pond snail Fossaria modicella, to grow and reproduce as long as water is present. Other species have an obligatory dormant period. Rapid growth and early transformation to adults is seen in many pool inhabitants. The lives of some pool insects include a mixture of short aquatic phases, drought-resistant terrestrial adults, and eggs that resist drying for a few months (e.g., the mosquito Ochlerotatus [formerly Aedes ] excrucians and the “log-cabin caddisfly,” Limnephilus indivisus ) (see Chapter 6 and Chapter 9 in Colburn 2004).

Like amphibians, many mobile aquatic insects are migrants that use vernal pools only seasonally.
Mosquitoes in the genus Culex overwinter as terrestrial adults and migrate to flooded pools in spring to lay their eggs. Water boatmen, backswimmers, and some predaceous diving beetles migrate between permanent waters where they overwinter and vernal pools where they feed and, in many cases, breed.
The larvae of some water mites are parasitic on some of these migrants; they avoid seasonal drying and are dispersed to new pools as their hosts fly first to permanent waters and then to vernal pools in spring and summer.

Life history strategies of animals in vernal pools respond to local habitat variability.
For instance, some fairy shrimps’ eggs are deposited at a depth level that maximizes the chance that when the eggs are flooded, enough water will be present to let the life cycle be completed before the pool dries. Eggs of many species hatch only when certain cues are present (e.g., average temperature, daylight, osmotic shock, and fill level) (Brendonck 1996, Dodson and Frey 2001). Because such cues are sometimes unreliable, most species with egg banks have a “bet-hedging” strategy: only some eggs hatch at any filling in case the pool dries before the life cycle can be completed (Fryer 1996, Simovich and Hathaway 1997, Ripley et al. 2004). As with the long lives and multiple breeding opportunities of amphibians, these strategies let invertebrates adapt to a range of conditions and contribute to the unique and variable communities in vernal pools.

havalotta 03-28-2019 04:16 PM

I used top have a couple of vernal pools. (Sold the property) They were quite interesting but for a short while but...
That little increment of time is all that's needed for many a species to survive

dapjwy 03-29-2019 12:07 PM

Thank you for posting. Very interesting.

This year, I plan to create a wetland...and perhaps a vernal pool. Either way, I will have a lot more flora and fauna added to the property. :)

jack 03-29-2019 11:18 PM

Thanks for sharing these resources, Gloria. I have a wet spot that I'll use this information to experiment with.

Gloria 04-01-2019 06:11 PM


Gloria 04-01-2019 06:25 PM

This video starts out discussing several wetland types so that the difference from vernal pools is apparent. Then vernal pool ecology and wildlife are shown.


Winter at a vernal pool.


Spring flowers


You tube channel for Vernal Pool Chronicles.


Gloria 04-01-2019 06:45 PM

Spring migration at vernal pools. I love the professor's water camera on a stick. Just awesome footage.

Part one...


Part two...


Gloria 04-01-2019 07:15 PM

A spotted turtle encounter.


Fairy shrimp


dapjwy 04-03-2019 09:27 PM


Originally Posted by Gloria (Post 161439)
Spring migration at vernal pools. I love the professor's water camera on a stick. Just awesome footage.

Part one...


Part two...


Great footage. :)

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