Great Basin Naturalist


Chemical variability and biological communities of rock pools found in small desert drainage basins of Capitol Reef National Park were characterized over 8 mon in 1994. Neither flooding, drying, nor the presence or absence of surrounding vegetated wetlands had a great effect on chemical composition, which was very dilute and fluctuated somewhat in response to rain events. Neither flooding nor drying affected the composition of biological communities in the pools. Summer storms affected only a few drainages at a time, and only a few study pools of significant volume dried completely during the hot, dry summer. This suggests that only a portion of the Waterpocket Fold aquatic community is ever disturbed at a time, leaving undisturbed areas as a source of recovery. Pools bordered by vegetated wetlands always supported greater numbers of species throughout the year than those bordered only by bedrock, but the same taxa were found in both vegetated and bedrock pools. The rock pool fauna in Capitol Reef National Park appear to be resilient to climatic variability.