Ward James V.

The Effect of Habitat Fragmentation on Biological and Genetic Diversity of Stream Benthic Macroinvertabrates

Project Number: CH-1632
Project Type: Research_Project
Project Duration: 06/01/1999 - 06/30/2000 project completed
Funding Source: EAWAG , SNSF ,
Project Leader: Prof. James V. Ward
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related to this project.
for which the project has a relevance.

Research Areas:

general biology

Gene Flow
Genetic Structure
Habitat fragmentation

Habitat fragmentation results from the division of large continuous habitats into smaller, often discreet patches separated by a different habitat type. Fragmentation can be natural or can be caused by human alteration, and can result in loss of species diversity and can gentically isolate populations. The ability of organisms to move from one area of habitat to another can be an important factor determining the effects on biological and genetic diversity. In streams, fragmentation by natural lakes or human-made reservoirs may affect biological and genetic diversity of benthic macroinvertebrates, and my largely depend on the ability of these organisms to move long distances.

We would like to study 2 different aspects of how fragmentation affects streamdwelling benthic macroinvertebrates in the Swiss National Park. The first aspect is the effect of large reservoirs located within a stream system. The Lago di Livigno is a benthic macroinvertebrates above and below the reservoir. As part of a larger study of 3 reservoirs and 7 lakes in the Swiss Alps, we would like to examine macroinvertebrate biological and genetic diversity above and below the Lago di Livigno.

The second aspect of the research is to better understand the ability of these animals to move long distances. We would like to study the genetic variation of macroinvertebrates living in tributaries of the Ova dal Fuorn to examine the importance of flight. By comparing genetic variation and gene flow in this forested catchment with that in an unforested catchment outside the Swiss National Park, we can examine how important adult flight is and how forest may affect the ability of organisms to move long distances.

Last update: 12/23/16
Source of data: ProClim- Research InfoSystem (1993-2020)
Update the data of project: CH-1632

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