Hydrology, Physiochemistry, and Amphibians in Natural and Created Vernal Pool Wetlands

Authors

  • Chelsea A. Korfel,

    Corresponding author
    1. Wilma H. Schiermeier Olentangy River Wetland Research Park, School of Environment and Natural Resources, 352 West Dodridge Street, Columbus, OH 43202, U.S.A.
    2. Current address Museum of Biological Diversity, Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology, The Ohio State University, 1315 Kinnear Road, Columbus, OH 43212, U.S.A.
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  • William J. Mitsch,

    1. Wilma H. Schiermeier Olentangy River Wetland Research Park, School of Environment and Natural Resources, 352 West Dodridge Street, Columbus, OH 43202, U.S.A.
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  • Thomas E. Hetherington,

    1. Current address Museum of Biological Diversity, Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology, The Ohio State University, 1315 Kinnear Road, Columbus, OH 43212, U.S.A.
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  • John J. Mack

    1. Cleveland Metroparks, 4500 Valley Parkway, Fairview Park, OH 44126, U.S.A.
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C. A. Korfel, email korfel.1@osu.edu

Abstract

This study compared the hydrology, physiochemistry, and amphibian biomass between a complex of created vernal pools and a complex of natural vernal pools in 2007 in central Ohio, United States. Hydrologic connectivity of surface water and groundwater differed between the natural and the created pool complexes. Surface inundation duration for created pools exceeded that of natural pools, although spring water depths were similar. Dissolved oxygen (p= 0.05) and hourly temperature (p= 0.00) were 1.2% and 1.1% higher, respectively, in the created pools, and conductivity was 1.5% higher (p= 0.00) in the natural pools. Amphibian dip net results found no significant difference in biomass between natural and created pools or family (hylid, ranid, and ambystomatid) biomass in both pool types. Amphibian families were evenly represented by both capture methods in the created wetlands; however, the distribution of families was not even in natural pools and the proportion of ranids was four times greater for samples obtained by funnel traps than dip netting. Eleven years after construction, the created vernal pools did not mimic natural pools in surface inundation and groundwater–surface water exchange, dissolved oxygen, and water temperature. The created pools are perched wetlands and are never likely to mimic reference pool hydrology. Dissolved oxygen and temperature differences are likely due to the separation of surface water and groundwater in the created pools. However, the created pools exhibited a higher taxa diversity than the natural pools due to a more even distribution of organisms between the three families.

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