Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Environmental Studies

First Advisor

Dr. James Vonesh


Connectivity and habitat area are important landscape characteristics that drive patterns of abundance and diversity across scales. However, responses to connectivity and patch size are dependent on species traits. Riverine landscapes are highly dynamic both spatially and temporally with hydrologic connectivity being a major driver of abundance and diversity. Here we modeled densities of the Virginia river snail and skimmer dragonfly nymphys, two taxa with differences in their dispersal abilities and life histories, as a function of flooding, patch area, and season in over 300 riverine rock pools. We found key differences in how each taxon responded to these predictors with increasing pool flood height having a strong negative effect on snail densities and dragonfly nymph densities increasing as pools became more isolated from the river channel. Our study highlights how differences in response to landscape characteristics are dependent on organism traits. These findings give insight into patterns of abundance and diversity across scales.


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Available for download on Tuesday, August 03, 2021


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