Date of Award


Degree Type



Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Wolin, Julie A.

Subject Headings

Stoneflies -- Ohio -- Lake County, Insects -- Ecology -- Ohio, Insects -- Genetics, Plecopterans, Allocapnia recta, Leuctra tenuis, stoneflies, 16s rRNA, mitochondrial DNA, benthic macroinvertebrates, Northeast Ohio, dispersal, land use


This dissertation focused on the insect order Plecoptera, and hypothesized that Allocapnia recta populations would have lower genetic diversity than Leuctra tenuis between adjacent Chagrin and Grand Rivers due to wing structure and season of terrestrial adult emergence. Genetic variations within the 16s rRNA region of mtDNA in A. recta, a winter emerging adult with rudimentary wing structure, and L. tenuis, a summer emerging adult with fully developed wings, were compared and revealed significant genetic variability between A. recta samples from the two rivers (FST = 0.20) but not between L. tenuis samples (FST = 0.07). Further genetic variation investigation used A. recta, populations, within and between the Chagrin River and Grand River, hypothesized that differences in populations is a function of distance, and that greater distance leads to greater genetic variability. To strengthen the robustness of this work, samples were collected from two additional watersheds, the Rocky and Cuyahoga Rivers. Genetic variation of A. recta populations differed significantly across all four watersheds, especially between the Cuyahoga and Grand Rivers (G'ST = 1), Rarity of movement regardless of distance suggests that other factors have a more profound effect than previously thought - factors that include human influences. The unresolved genetic variation of A. recta and potential human influence resulted in a holistic examination of macroinvertebrate community structure and ecology within the four watersheds. Both legacy land use and anthropogenic disturbance effects on seasonal variation were examined and it was hypothesized that: (1) greatest species diversity and richness among stoneflies and other macroinvertebrates will occur during the summer months, when weather conditions in Ohio are more conducive. (2) The greatest species diversity and richness among stoneflies and other macroinvertebrates will occur where the landscape has been historically less disturbed. The results revealed inconsistencies in seasona