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Macroinvertebrate Community Composition and Diversity in Ephemeral and Perennial Ponds on Unregulated Floodplain Meadows in the UK

Hill, Matthew and Death, R.G. and Mathers, K.L. and Ryves, D.B. and White, J.C. and Wood, P.J. (2017) Macroinvertebrate Community Composition and Diversity in Ephemeral and Perennial Ponds on Unregulated Floodplain Meadows in the UK. Hydrobiologia, 793 (1). pp. 95-108. ISSN Print 0018-8158 Online 1573-5117

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Abstract

Ponds are common and abundant landscape features in temperate environments, particularly on floodplains where lateral connectivity with riverine systems persists. Despite their widespread occurrence and importance to regional diversity, research on the ecology and hydrology of temperate ephemeral and perennial floodplain ponds lags behind that of other shallow waterbodies. This study examines the aquatic macroinvertebrate diversity of 34 ponds (20 perennial and 14 ephemeral) on two unregulated riverine floodplain meadows in Leicestershire, UK. Perennial ponds supported nearly twice the diversity of ephemeral ponds. Despite frequent inundation of floodwater and connectivity with other floodplain waterbodies, ephemeral ponds supported distinct invertebrate communities when compared to perennial ponds. When the relative importance of physical and chemical, biological and spatial characteristics was examined, physical and chemical characteristics were found to account for more variation in community composition than biological or spatial variables. The results suggest that niche characteristics rather than neutral colonisation processes dominate the structure of invertebrate communities of floodplain ponds. The maintenance of pond networks with varying hydroperiod lengths and environmental characteristics should be encouraged as part of conservation management strategies to provide heterogeneous environmental conditions to support and enhance aquatic biodiversity at a landscape scale.

Item Type: Article
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The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10750-016-2856-x
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Uncontrolled Keywords: community composition, community heterogeneity, connectivity, dry phase duration, hydroperiod, invertebrate, species richness
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Academic Departments > Institute of Science and the Environment
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Depositing User: Matthew Hill
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2016 09:40
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2017 01:00
URI: https://eprints.worc.ac.uk/id/eprint/4535

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