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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Stacy Luthy

First Committee Member

Mark Brunell

Second Committee Member

Steven Slater


Vernal pools are temporary aquatic habitats that can be home to dozens of 4 invertebrate species. Unfortunately, over 90 percent of California vernal pool habitat has been destroyed. To better understand the remaining habitat, this study focused on the species community structure of the pools, determined similarity among sites, and the pool characteristics important to survival of these organisms. Vernal pools at four distinct sites in the Sacramento Valley during winter 2012 were sampled for crustaceans and water characteristics every 2 weeks for 14 weeks. Twenty-two species of crustaceans were identified, 13 of which are possibly new species. In this dry, late rainfall year, fairy shrimp and copepods were the first species to emerge in large numbers. Ostracods, Cladocera and clam shrimp experienced large populations later in the season. Temperature showed strong correlations with most species and likely affected growth rates and emergence; conductivity, depth, and surface area were also positively correlated with several species abundance. Understanding the emergence and distribution of these crustaceans is necessary to protection of remaining habitat.



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