Research Reveals Caddisflies are Ecosystem Engineers

1024 575 Stroud Water Research Center

Research by Lindsey Albertson, Ph.D., a former Stroud Center postdoctoral researcher now at Montana State University, and Melinda Daniels, Ph.D., principal investigator of the Stroud Center’s Fluvial Geomorphology group, is revealing how small aquatic insects can influence important characteristics of streams and rivers.

Hydropsychid caddisflies (Trichoptera) are a group of globally distributed aquatic insects that spin silk mesh nets that they use to filter feed. These nets are important ecosystem engineering structures in flowing waters that can regulate sediment erosion, enhance food particle delivery by altering near-bed current velocities, and enhance habitat availability for other macroinvertebrates.

National Science Foundation logoA short film has been produced to take a closer look at caddisflies and their ecosystem engineering. This film is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1557032. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.