California's vernal pools provide habitats
for a wide range of highly adapted organisms, including twenty-seven
species of special concern listed by the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service. Human activities have eliminated the
large majority of pools occurring before in California, and the remaining
ones are the subject of a dedicated Recovery Plan by the USFWS. One
of the Recovery Tasks listed in this Recovery Plan, is to inventory
each pool in terms of species diversity and abundance.
|We are conducting an exploratory
survey of nematodes in two pools from the Santa
Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve. This study not only constitutes
the first survey of nematodes from vernal pools in the world,
but also applies a novel combination of microscopy and molecular
analysis. These methods will result in the construction of a database
of diagnostic DNA sequences, as well as a library of "virtual
nematodes" recorded with video microscopy at high magnification.
Both resources will provide an essential baseline for future surveys
of longer duration and expanded geographical scope.
Because of the wide range of ecological
requirements and behaviours exhibited by nematodes, our data are expected
to reveal correlations with important environmental parameters. This
may prove to be directly relevant to monitoring of the general effects
of annual climate fluctuations, and bioassessment of the specific
consequences of disturbances due to pollution or changes in land use
on the Santa Rosa Plateau. Given the current lack of knowledge on
nematodes from this habitat, we also expect to discover new species,
as well as some species that will be useful as bioindicator organisms
for specific changes or disturbances in vernal pools.
Copyright 2002 Paul
De Ley & UC Riverside - All rights reserved - This website is maintained
by the De Ley lab