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    Small seasonal ponds are abundant in many forest landscapes, yet they remain poorly understood in terms of their response to disturbance of the surrounding upland forest. The potential for such a response is large because of the small size and, hence, high perimeter-to-area ratios of most ponds. High perimeter-to-area ratio may increase the importance of functional connections with the surrounding forest, via exchange of energy, organisms, and materials. To better understand this connection, we studied 19 seasonal ponds across a 100-year chronosequence of single-cohort forests in northern Minnesota. Our objective was to see if there are distinct changes over time in select pond attributes, which may reflect alteration of functional linkages with the surrounding forest. In 1998 and 1999, we sampled hydroperiod, water depth and chemistry, canopy openness, grass, sedge, shrub, and coarse woody debris cover, coarse particulate organic matter (CPOM) flux, and macroinvertebrate and amphibian populations. We related these variables to stand age through regression. Stand age explained little variation for most variables. Responsive variables included canopy openness and CPOM flux. Canopy openness, in turn, was related positively to total macroinvertebrate abundance, sensitive taxon richness, and Haliplidae beetle and Physidae snail abundances. Calling wood frogs occurred more frequently under an open canopy and low CPOM flux. An open canopy, which occurs more often over ponds in younger than in older forest, likely results in increases in water and air temperatures and photosynthetically active radiation, all of which may influence resource availability and habitat suitability for some macroinvertebrates and amphibian taxa. Results from our exploratory study suggest that many characteristics of small seasonal ponds are unaffected by harvest of the adjacent upland forest, at least as detected through examination of a chronosequence. However, responsive variables may include several abiotic characteristics that provide mechanistic links to pond foodwebs.

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    Palik, Brian J.; Batzer, Darold P.; Buech, Richard; Nichols, Dale; Cease, Kory; Egeland, Leanne M.; Streblow, Dwight E. 2001. Seasonal Pond Characteristics Across A Chronosequence Of djacent Forest Ages In Northern Minnesota, USA. Wetlands Vol. 21 no. 4.:p. 532-542. (2001)


    seasonal forest ponds, forest disturbance, wetland invertebrates, amphibians, forest-pond interactions

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