Date of Award


Access Control

Open Access

Degree Name

Great Lakes Ecosystem Science


Great Lakes Center


Christopher Pennuto

First Reader

Christopher Pennuto

Second Reader

Robert Warren

Third Reader

Daniel Potts


Macroinvertebrates play an important role in maintaining ecosystem functionality. Processes such as nutrient cycling, and primary productivity are directly linked to macroinvertebrates and their value as a food source for higher trophic levels is undeniable. Therefore, disruptions to co-evolutionary adaptations between macroinvertebrates and native macrophytes remain a concern. This study investigated patterns in macroinvertebrate richness, abundance, and functional feeding group representation, as well as plant richness and total biomass across five sites in upstate New York with varying dominance by the non-native macroalgae, Starry Stonewort (Nitellopsis obtusa).

As N. obtusa proportional biomass increased, other plant community biomass declined at two of the five locations. Starry Stonewort mass had no impact on macrophyte richness. Macroinvertebrate richness declined as N. obtusa biomass increased at two of the five sampled waterways, but increased with total vegetative biomass at one site. Functional feeding group representation differed among the sample locations, but only predators showed a significant decline as percent N. obtusa biomass increased. Increasing Starry Stonewort mass may facilitate Dreissena polymorpha expansion. These findings suggest that this non-native macroalgae may alter some, though not all, plant and macroinvertebrate community metrics.