“The Impact of Stormwater Management on Macroinvertebrate Communities and Genetic Diversity of Caddisflies (Hydropsychidae spp.) in Tributary Streams”

Kayla Kunde
Grand Valley State University
My name is Kayla Kunde and I am a second year graduate student at Grand Valley State University. I have a diverse background ranging from ecology to forensic sciences and I am passionate about nearly all things outdoors, including traveling, snowboarding, and kayaking. My thesis research is currently focused on assessing the affect of storm water management on macroinvetebrate communities. I am also investigating the levels of genetic variation and population structuring of macroinvertebrates and darters within isolated tributary streams. Upon completion of my masters, I plan on pursuing restoration projects full time.

Tributary streams are primarily fed and sustained by external water sources and thus are extremely susceptible to anthropogenic changes. Because these streams are continually altered, organisms within these streams may exhibit increased genetic variation. Populations with high levels of genetic diversity are more resilient and resilient to anthropogenic disturbances and alterations. When populations become too small or homogenize, it is possible to fix deleterious alleles and populations may go extinct. While many studies show that genetic variation exists in populations that are separated by physical barriers, little is known about sympatric populations. Species of caddisflies within the family Hydropsychidae are indicators of environmental quality and have high mobility which allows a potential increase in interbreeding. Our goal is to understand the genetic variation between Hydropsychidae populations within isolated tributary streams and to further investigate baseline macroinvertebrate populations as an intermediate step in a long-term restoration project.

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