Report on Invertebrate Populations Lac Bay 2022

1. BackgroundInvertebrates play a critica

l role in maintaining a resilient and healthy environment. These speciesare one of the most globally abundant and diverse animal groups, comprising nearly 80% of alldocumented species to date (Brusca &Brusca, 2002). In fact, these species occupy a wide range oftropic levels, interacting with species throughout the food web.One study (Prather et al, 2020) broke down the importance of invertebrates into the following fourecosystem services:

1) Supporting services. This includes primary production, decomposition, nutrient cycling,hydrologic flux and habitat formation and modification. Within the sediment, invertebratescan dramatically influence water movement, increasing soil porosity (Derouard etal., 1997)and decreasing litter quantity (Wardle, 2002).

2) Providing services. These contributions include serving as a food source, or generatinghousehold goods, inclusion in biochemical or pharmaceutical products as well as a boundlesssupply ofscientific study. For Lac, thequeen conch is an iconic species, whose meat washistoricallyfeatured in local cuisine and shellis still usedas decoration.

3) Regulating services. This includes ability to improve water quality, food web stability,disease regulation within populations as well as pest and invader control. In shallow marineecosystems, bivalves (such as mussels and oysters) can provide substantial water filtrationthroughout the water column.

4) Cultural services. This includes benefits obtained from recreational services and theircultural significance. Many iconic invertebrate species, such as octopus, corals, sponges andconch create a vibrant landscape for scuba divers and snorkelers alike to explore.

Lac Bay has great economic,environmental and cultural value, none of which would be possiblewithout a healthy and robust invertebrate population. These invertebrates are help build resiliencewithin the sandy plateaus, seagrass beds and mangroves, serve as a point of interest forvisitors, andareeither themselves iconic, or vital to the success of other iconic species (such as the flamingo andsea turtle)within the bay.

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