Sei Presents on Biodiversity in Chihuahuan Desert Springs

By Purnell T. Cropper | June 29, 2010

Dr. Makiri Sei, Adjunct Professor and Research Associate, presented a poster on “Comparison of Biodiversity Patterns among Four Northern Chihuahuan Desert springs” at the joint meeting of the North American Benthological Society and the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography in Santa Fe, N.M., June 6-11.

Danielle Klim ’10 was one of the co-authors of the paper, which was her senior thesis project, along with Brian K. Lang and David J. Berg.

According to their abstract, “Aquatic habitats within arid ecosystems support high endemism. They are also at elevated risk of habitat deterioration due to human population pressure. We surveyed four permanent springs in the northern Chihuahuan Desert four times in southeastern New Mexico in 2007-08, in order to estimate species biodiversity. We took benthic grabs and submergent vegetation sweeps, varying sampling intensity according to the size of the springhead. We also took grab and sweep samples downstream of the springheads. For each combination of location, sampling method and season, we calculated species diversity, evenness, and dominance. We also calculated taxonomic similarity between pairs of locations, sampling methods and seasons. We found that sweep samples captured larger biodiversity than benthic grab samples. Communities captured by benthic grabs and sweeps were also dissimilar. Diversity and similarity did not significantly change by season or location within a stream continuum, although Trichoptera were only captured during colder months in lower-elevation springs. We strongly recommend combination of sampling methods and inclusion of multiple seasons for biodiversity monitoring implementation.