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Inventory of Rare Groundwater Invertebrates and Their Habitats in National Capital Parks East Parks

David Culver, Emeritus Professor, American University Department of Biology presented for Jenna Keany, Graduate Student American University Department of Environmental Science

The Washington region is home to a remarkable assemblage of invertebrates that live in very shallow groundwater habitats that emerge at small seepage springs. Species include amphipods (Crangonyx and Stygobromus) and isopods (Caecidotea). One species, Hays spring amphipod (Stygobromus hayi) is on the US endangered species list. Park lands in NACE are little studied in this regard, and we are remedying this deficiency. All park lands are being inventoried by walking transects at 150 m intervals, and recording the presence of seepage springs, the resident species, as well as a serious of physico/chemical measurements. More than 100 seepage springs have been found, and there is a high concentration (more than five per hectare) in some parts of Shepherd Parkway. Especially noteworthy is the presence of seepage springs dominated by Crangonyx amphipods, a previously unknown community type. This study points to the potential importance of even small parks as reservoirs of biodiversity.

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