University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Biodiversity Associated with Artificial Agricultural Drainage Ditches

Hill, Matthew, Chadd, R.P., Morris, N., Swaine, J.D. and Wood, P.J. (2016) Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Biodiversity Associated with Artificial Agricultural Drainage Ditches. Hydrobiologia, 776 (1). pp. 249-260. ISSN 0018-8158 Online: 1573-5117

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Agricultural drainage channels and ditches are ubiquitous features in the lowland agricultural landscapes, built primarily to facilitate land drainage, irrigate agricultural crops and alleviate flood risk. Most drainage ditches are considered artificial waterbodies and are not typically included in routine monitoring programmes, and as a result the faunal and floral communities they support are poorly quantified. This paper characterizes the aquatic macroinvertebrate diversity (alpha, beta and gamma) of agricultural drainage ditches managed by an internal drainage board in Lincolnshire, UK. The drainage ditches support very diverse macroinvertebrate communities at both the site (alpha diversity) and landscape scale (gamma diversity) with the main arterial drainage ditches supporting greater numbers of taxa when compared to smaller ditches. Examination of the between site community heterogeneity (beta diversity) indicated that differences among ditches were high spatially and temporally. The results illustrate that both main arterial and side ditches make a unique contribution to aquatic biodiversity of the agricultural landscape. Given the need to maintain drainage ditches to support agriculture and flood defence measures, we advocate the application of principles from ‘reconciliation ecology’ to inform the future management and conservation of drainage ditches.

Item Type: Article
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This is the accepted version of the journal article. The final publication is available at Springer via

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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: agricultural drainage, agricultural landscapes, macroinvertebrate diversity
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > QL Zoology
S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Divisions: College of Health, Life and Environmental Sciences > School of Science and the Environment
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Copyright Info: Open Access journal article
Depositing User: Matthew Hill
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2016 12:03
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:14

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