The Distribution of Tardigrades Upwind and Downwind of a Missouri Coal-Burning Power Plant

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Significant differences occurred in the density of tardigrades, rotifers, and nematodes and the diversity of tardigrades between collecting sites located upwind and downwind from a coal-burning power plant in Missouri. The oak tree species and lichen genera also varied in the two areas. Tardigrade and rotifer densities were greater in upwind sites, whereas nematode density was higher in downwind samples. One tardigrade species (Ramazzottius sp.) was found only at the upwind sites, and one species (Echiniscus sp.) was only in the downwind samples. In contrast, three species (Macrobiotus sp., Minibiotus sp., and Milnesium tardigradum) were found both upwind and downwind but in different densities in the two areas. The study presents baseline data for long-term monitoring of the effects of environmental factors on nematode and rotifer densities as well as tardigrade density and diversity.