Natural Resources, School of



Mark A. Kaemingk

Document Type


Date of this Version



Published in Lake and Reservoir Management, 33:3 (2017), pp 314-323.

DOI: 10.1080/10402381.2017.1339747


Copyright © by the North American Lake Management Society 2017; published by Wiley, Inc. Used by permission.


Aquatic vegetation serves an important ecological role. Previous research on the interactions of macrophytes and aquatic organisms has focused primarily on submersed macrophytes due to their structural complexity and associated ecological impacts. However, the role of emergent vegetation is far less understood and often overlooked because they lack structural complexity. We evaluated 3 common emergent macrophytes and an open water habitat, and determined use among multiple aquatic taxa. Pelican Lake, Nebraska, USA, served as our study system because it is dominated by 3 emergent macrophytes: common cattail (Typha latifolia), softstem bulrush (Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani), and common reed (Phragmites australis). Juvenile fishes (yellow perch [Perca flavescens] and bluegill [Lepomis macrochirus]), zooplankton, and benthic macroinvertebrates were sampled concurrently in each habitat patch over 3 months (Aug, Sep, and Oct). We identified few clear or consistent overall patterns in habitat use among emergent vegetation species across these aquatic taxa. However, bluegill and some zooplankton taxa were more abundant in emergent vegetation compared to open water habitats. Conversely, habitat use for some macroinvertebrate taxa differed among emergent vegetation species. Our results suggest that managers could select from a variety of emergent vegetation species to address management objectives, while also balancing ecological and social tradeoffs.