Species diversity of aquatic macroinvertebrates in playa lakes: island biogeographic and landscape influences



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Texas Tech University


Patterns of species diversity have long intrigued ecologists. This fascination has resulted in numerous theories explaining differences among sites in species diversity. Two such theories are those pertaining to island biogeography and landscape ecology. They differ in the import placed on patch versus matrix characteristics. Island biogeographic theory suggests that patch characteristics are the foremost influences on diversity. Conversely, landscape ecology proposes that attributes of the surrounding matrix are of primary significance.

Playas of the Southern High Plains are an excellent environment in which to study the relative influence of patch versus matrix characteristics. They are numerous and surrounded by a mosaic of landuse practices. These ephemeral lakes differ greatly in size and contain an abundance of aquatic macroinvertebrates.