We related macroinvertebrate communities and environmental variables in 66 small seasonal woodland ponds of northern Minnesota, USA. These wetlands were relatively pristine, being embedded in 50- to 100-y-old 2nd-growth forests. Macroinvertebrate taxon richness in ponds increased as hydroperiods lengthened, tree canopies opened, water pH declined, and litter input decreased. Eighteen macroinvertebrate taxa were widespread (occurred in >50% of ponds), and hydrology, water chemistry, geomorphology, vegetation, occurrence of other macroinvertebrate taxa, and presence of amphibian larvae each explained some variation in relative abundance of widespread macroinvertebrates. The first 4 axes of a canonical correspondence analysis explained 37% of total variation in relative abundance of widespread macroinvertebrate taxa. Overall, however, macroinvertebrates were remarkably unresponsive to environmental variables. Most relationships between macroinvertebrates and environmental variables were nonsignificant, and the few significant relationships observed were weak (<20% of variation). We suggest that this lack of response occurs because most macroinvertebrates in seasonal woodland ponds are habitat generalists. These species routinely endure pronounced and unpredictable environmental changes; hence, they possess a durability that makes them resistant to most natural variation in habitat conditions.
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Vol. 23 • No. 1