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Community Heterogeneity of Aquatic Macroinvertebrates in Urban Ponds at a Multi-city Scale

Hill, Matthew and Biggs, J. and Thornhill, I. and Briers, R.A. and Ledger, M. and Gledhill, D.G. and Wood, P.J. and Hassall, C. (2018) Community Heterogeneity of Aquatic Macroinvertebrates in Urban Ponds at a Multi-city Scale. Landscape Ecology, 33 (3). pp. 389-405. ISSN 0921-2973 Online: 1572-9761

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Abstract

Purpose 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 urban settlements 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 cities, 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 individual ponds. Pond conservation practices need to consider the spatial organization of ecological communities (landscape-scale) to ensure that the maximum possible biodiversity can be protected.

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Uncontrolled Keywords: beta-diversity, landscape scale conservation, lentic habitat, species turnover, anthropogenic landscape
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Academic Departments > Institute of Science and the Environment
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Copyright Info: Open Access
Depositing User: Matthew Hill
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2018 09:19
Last Modified: 12 Mar 2018 11:24
URI: https://eprints.worc.ac.uk/id/eprint/6285

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