Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2018VI273B

FRESHWATER INVERTEBRATES OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS AS QUANTITATIVE INDICATORS OF ECOLOGICAL CHANGE

Institute: Virgin Islands
Year Established: 2018 Start Date: 2018-03-01 End Date: 2019-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $21,815 Total Non-Federal Funds: Not available

Principal Investigators: Edwin CruzRivera

Abstract: Management of freshwater resources is vital for public and ecological health, as well as anticipating, monitoring, and adapting to climate change. In order to monitor and predict the fate of freshwater communities, efforts to develop community health indices using freshwater macroinvertebrates have been developed. However, these tools have been applied to temperate North American communities and, thus, have limited applicability to the Caribbean, where dominant macroinvertebrates belong to different phyla. In this research we will develop monitoring methods and tools for the USVI based on EPA’s (1994) standard aquatic macroinvertebrate bioassessment methods. A special emphasis will be on adapting these approaches to the seasonally dry local environment of St. Thomas (e.g., ghuts). Community-wide invertebrate assessments, identification manuals, and keys to undescribed species are some of the expected deliverables. The study will train two undergraduate students from UVI. Data produced from this research will be of fundamental importance to understand effects from urbanization, watershed degradation and climate change on the limited freshwater environments of the US Virgin Islands.