Tahoe’s native water invertebrates are decreasing at an alarming rate, another study showed. These tiny “water bugs” are important indicators of ecosystem and water quality health. One species that is only found at Tahoe has experienced a 99 percent decline, scientists found. Another type of stonefly that’s in rapid decline is so unique that it is one of only two species on Earth that never emerges from the water.
Several factors could be affecting these species in such a dramatic way, including the human introduction of nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous, which leads to algae growth. Or, invasive species like non-native shrimp and crayfish could be changing the food web.
Citation: Caires, Andrea. “Long-Term Change in Benthic Invertebrate Assemblages in Lake Tahoe” (presentation). 5th Biennial Lake Tahoe Basin Science Conference, March 16 & 17, 2010. Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences.