Loss of prairie habitat has led to declines in biodiversity of prairie streams necessitating conservation of these freshwater ecosystems. The Nebraska Natural Legacy Project developed the State Wildlife Action Plan to conserve the state's biologically unique landscapes (BUL). We examine a common group of aquatic flies, the non-biting midges, or Chironomidae, collected from streams located in four BULs to answer these questions: (1) Are the BULs distinct based solely on stream/landscape features?; (2) If distinct, what is the taxonomic and functional diversity of chironomids in the study BULs?; and (3) Are the chironomid communities within each BUL unique when compared to the communities in the other study BULs? Chironomidae were collected using the "surface floating pupal exuviae" method. The four BULs were unique, clearly separated based on the stream and landscape variables in a discriminant analysis. Overall diversity of the study was 62 chironomid taxa. Taxonomic and functional trait diversity varied significantly between the four BULs, and, based on an analysis of similarity, chironomid communities showed little overlap between the BULs. Our results support the original landscape designations developed by the NNLP indicating that the BULs can function as a framework to conserve macroinvertebrate biodiversity in BUL streams.


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pp. 25-38
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