Where Are We Now?

June 2014
  • Successful first field season
    • 57 ponds surveyed

Contact Information

Dr. Mandy Little
Associate Professor of Biology
Dr. Jim Church
Lecturer in Biology

We are conducting a five-year study of 57 ephemeral ponds within Wisconsin's Chippewa Moraine to identify the effects of environmental variability on aquatic macroinvertebrates, amphibians, plants and water chemistry.

CMEPP study pond CMEPP study pond CMEPP study pond CMEPP study pond CMEPP study pond
Map showing Chippewa Moraine Ephemeral Pond study sites 50 miles northeast of UW-Stout campus

Ephemeral ponds are fed by snowmelt and rainfall in the spring and dry out in the summer. These habitats contain uniquely adapted organisms like fairy shrimp (Eubranchipus spp.), fingernail clams (Sphaeriidae), and clam shrimp (Lynceus spp.). Many species persist in dried ponds as dormant cysts.

Because ephemeral ponds are fish-free, they provide critical breeding habitat for amphibians, wood frogs (Lithobates sylvaticus) in particular. Chorus frogs, spring peepers, and blue-spotted salamanders also breed in ephemeral ponds.

Investigator Jim Church holds a central newt adult (Notophthalmus viridens louisianensis), found in an ephemeral pond. Investigator Jim Church holds a wood frog, a species which breeds in ephemeral ponds. Fairy shrimp, Eubranchipus species, are a common crustacean found in ephemeral ponds in May. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Yellow water buttercup (Ranunculus flabellaris) is common in ephemeral ponds. Photo from www.Minnesotawildflowers.info
Yellow water buttercup (Ranunculus flabellaris) is common in ephemeral ponds. Photo from www.Minnesotawildflowers.info