Benthic Invertebrate Fauna, Wetland Ecosystems

M. J. Cooper, D. G. Uzarski, T. M. Burton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Wetlands occur along a gradient of soil moisture from nearly terrestrial to truly aquatic habitats. In general, wetlands are structurally diverse and highly productive habitats. Accordingly, invertebrate communities of most wetland types exhibit high species diversity and production. Wetland invertebrates perform a number of important ecosystem functions, including the physical breakdown of particulate organic matter, which promotes decomposition and nutrient cycling, bioturbation of wetland sediments, as well as providing food resources for higher trophic animals such as fish and birds. Though wetland invertebrate communities tend to be diverse and productive, abiotic conditions in wetlands often present unique chemical and physical challenges that the invertebrate fauna must cope with. Examples of invertebrate adaptations for living in wetlands include behaviors and body structures for procuring oxygen, the ability to survive dry periods as diapausing eggs and larvae, and the ability to find and colonize newly flooded habitats quickly. For many wetland types, scientific consensus on the environmental drivers that shape invertebrate communities is lacking. However, a better understanding of the important roles that invertebrates play in many wetland functions has resulted in increasing study of these communities.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Inland Waters
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9780123706263
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009


  • Community composition
  • Cyclical colonization
  • Diapause
  • Floodplain
  • Great lakes coastal wetlands
  • Hypoxia
  • Insect
  • Invertebrate adaptations
  • Macroinvertebrate
  • Peatland
  • Prairie pothole


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