Year Established: 2017 Start Date: 2017-03-01 End Date: 2018-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $24,921 Total Non-Federal Funds: $49,842
Principal Investigators: Ronald Bonett, Alexander Hess
Abstract: The convoluted karstic drainages of the Oklahoma Ozarks have challenged mapping of hydrological connectivity among its extensive groundwater networks. The geographic distributions of species reflect their habitat associations and dispersal limitations. For aquatic species this information and can be used to understand variations in water chemistry and hydrologic patterns. Freshwater isopods are excellent models for such studies due to their ubiquity in both surface and subterranean systems. Here we use a DNA barcoding approach to determine the distribution and diversity of isopods in aquatic systems of the Oklahoma Ozarks. We will test whether the distributions of these species correspond to watershed boundaries at different geographic scales, and evaluate subterranean and surface connections. We will also examine water chemistry parameters associated with the presence and density of isopod species to assess their utility as bioindicators. Due to their reliance upon watershed connectivity for dispersal and their role in nutrient cycling, groundwater isopods in the Ozarks represent a compelling group for understanding regional hydrologic connectivity and health of the watershed.