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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/31879

Title: Abiotic Conditions in Contrasting Environments: An Examination of Precambrian Shield Lotic Communities
Authors: Neff, Margaret Rose
Advisor: Jackson, Donald Andrew
Department: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Keywords: community ecology
fish
macroinvertebrates
Precambrian Shield
Ontario
Issue Date: 11-Jan-2012
Abstract: The inherent complexity of the natural world has long been a central theme in ecological research, as the patterns and processes that govern ecosystems can operate at multiple spatial and temporal scales. It is clear that to develop general ecological frameworks, we must consider many different factors at different scales, and incorporate ideas from other disciplines. This thesis touches on several of these ideas, first through an analysis of literature, and then with field research examining the role of broad-scale abiotic factors on lotic systems. To determine how integrated aquatic science is currently understood among different researchers, I provide an analysis on communication and exchange of ideas among various subfields in aquatic science. I show that there are clear divisions within the aquatic science literature, suggesting that there is progress to be made on the integration of methods and ideas. Next, I examine the impact of a large-scale geological feature, the Canadian Precambrian Shield, on abiotic conditions in lotic systems, and how these conditions in turn influence the species assemblages of aquatic organisms. This is addressed with both historical survey data, as well as contemporary data, and as a whole, incorporates ideas concerning the relative influence of regional versus local factors, the importance of historical factors on species distributions, and the relationship between the abiotic environment and biological communities. These analyses show that there are distinct fish and macroinvertebrate communities in Shield lotic systems compared to those found in nearby off-Shield sites, indicating that the Shield is an important broad-scale factor influencing local biological communities. This finding, in conjunction with previous knowledge on the influence of historical factors, provides further insight on the structuring of lotic fish and macroinvertebrate communities in Ontario.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/31879
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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