The Arctic is currently experiencing changes in climate more rapid than any other biome. This warming trend has resulted in significant abiotic changes to the seasonal patterns of freshwater ecosystems. Thorough inventories of freshwater insect communities are required to provide benchmarks allowing for the detection of range shifts in response to a warming climate. While statewide studies have been conducted for Trichoptera and Plecoptera, species accounts for these orders in Arctic Alaska have received relatively little attention. We surveyed Plecoptera and Trichoptera of Alaska’s Arctic North Slope at a variety of habitat types over an 11 year period. We document new and historical collection records for 24 species of Plecoptera and 34 species of Trichoptera. Among these are 19 new North Slope records for Trichoptera (4 new state records) and 2 new North Slope records for the Plecoptera. Our assessment of these taxa reveals communities of stoneflies and caddisflies that are distinct to Alaska’s North Slope and should be of clear conservation concern. Two major factors contributing to these unique communities include the North Slope as a Beringian refuge from continental ice sheets and the occurrence of spring streams as refuge from seasonal winter ice. The North Slope of Alaska is predicted to undergo changes in climate and industrialization in coming years and this species list will aid in our understanding of how aquatic insect communities may respond to future changes in Arctic Alaska.
Kendrick, Michael R. and Huryn, Alexander D.
"The Plecoptera and Trichoptera of the Arctic North Slope of Alaska,"
Western North American Naturalist: Vol. 74
, Article 2.
Available at: http://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/wnan/vol74/iss3/2