Forest harvesting can impact the environment in many ways, one of which is causing a loss of subsidies and increased light intensity to freshwater ecosystems. This can have a major impact on freshwater invertebrate communities that may rely on subsidies to survive. In this study, I tested two effects of commercial clearcut, changes in light availability and detrital resources, on freshwater invertebrate communities. Cattle tanks containing freshwater invertebrates were given detritus from two different plots: one which underwent commercial clearcut over 50 years ago, and one which underwent commercial clearcut 2 years ago. Tanks were also placed in two areas of differing canopy: one shaded, another open. The abundance, richness, and composition of the invertebrate communities were measured. There was no significant difference between the 50-year and 2-year clearcut leaf subsidy treatments, but there was a significant difference between the shaded and opened canopy treatment. This indicates that a lack of canopy over a freshwater ecosystem in autumn or winter alters freshwater invertebrate communities through light availability rather than through a lack of detritus.
Kovalik, Nicholas J., "Assessing the Impacts of Commercial Clearcut on Freshwater Invertebrate Communities" (2018). Honors College. 342.