Monitoring Vernal Pools in the Indiana Dunes
Arts and Sciences
In the early spring throughout the temperate woodlands of North America, there is a unique aquatic ecosystem that develops, vernal pools. Vernal pools are unique in that they fill with water in the winter and spring, evaporating in the summer months. These pools provide habitat for hundreds of organisms that face predation from fish in permanent water bodies. Additionally, one of these organisms, fairy shrimp, depend on these ephemeral pools for their lifecycle. However, under the threat of climate change these vernal pools face numerous vulnerabilities, ranging from higher evapo-transpiration rates to more extreme precipitation variability. Thus, it is crucial to monitor these pools and understand what factors can make them more resilient to climate change. For this study, in collaboration with the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, vernal pools were verified throughout the Cowles Bog unit. The locations of these vernal pools were entered into a spatial database. Additionally, water chemistry tests, macroinvertebrate surveys, and photographs were collected. This data will provide a baseline for future monitoring by the National Park Service.
Noble, Sidney L., "Monitoring Vernal Pools in the Indiana Dunes" (2018). Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression (SOURCE). 738.