Community heterogeneity of aquatic macroinvertebrates in urban ponds at a multi-city scale

Matthew Hill, Jeremy Biggs, Ian Thornhill, Robert Briers, Mark Ledger, David Gledhill, Paul Wood, Chris Hassall

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6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Urbanisation is a leading cause of biotic homogenisation in urban ecosystems. However, there has been little research examining the effect of urbanisation and biotic homogenisation on aquatic communities, and few studies have compared findings across different urban landscapes. We assessed the processes that structure aquatic macroinvertebrate diversity within five UK cities and characterise the heterogeneity of pond macroinvertebrate communities within and among urban areas.

Methods
A total of 132 ponds were sampled for invertebrates to characterise biological communities of ponds across five UK cities. Variation among sites within cities, and variation among urban settlements, was partitioned into components of beta diversity relating to turnover and nestedness.

Results
We recorded 337 macroinvertebrate taxa, and species turnover almost entirely accounted for the high beta-diversity recorded within each urban area and when all ponds were considered. A total of 40% of all macroinvertebrates recorded were unique to a particular urban settlement. In contrast to the homogenisation of terrestrial and lotic communities in urban landscapes reported in the literature, ponds support highly heterogeneous communities within and among urban settlements.

Conclusions
The high species turnover (species replacement) recorded in this study demonstrates that urban pond biodiversity conservation would be most efficient at a landscape-scale, rather than at the individual ponds scale. Pond conservation practices need to consider the spatial organization of ecological communities (landscape-scale) to ensure that the maximum possible biodiversity can be protected.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-405
Number of pages16
JournalLandscape Ecology
Volume33
Issue number3
Early online date17 Jan 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes

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    Hill, M., Biggs, J., Thornhill, I., Briers, R., Ledger, M., Gledhill, D., ... Hassall, C. (2018). Community heterogeneity of aquatic macroinvertebrates in urban ponds at a multi-city scale. Landscape Ecology, 33(3), 389-405. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-018-0608-1