, Volume 551, Issue 1, pp 237-251

Odonata, Amphibia and Environmental Characteristics in Motorway Stormwater Retention Ponds (Southern France)

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Water and its protection against pollution is an urgent priority for all countries around the world. In that context, France, through its Water Law in 1992 obliged the motorway companies to build stormwater retention ponds along roads in order to protect the water resource from transport pollution and to control water flow during rainstorms. We propose to evaluate how much these ponds can be attractive for aquatic species and then evaluate their role in regional biodiversity. Six retention ponds, localized in the Mediterranean region, were investigated during one year (March 2002–March 2003) for their chemical and biological characteristics such as bottom type, trace metal composition, water quality and phytocenose composition. These variables were recorded and correlated with species richness of amphibian and dragonfly communities. Stormwater retention ponds showed a high concentration of copper and zinc in top sediment layer and herbicides in water column. Dragonfly richness was higher in ponds with a natural bottom than ones with an artificial bottom (PEHD membrane) while amphibian richness was more sensitive to the structure of the surrounding landscape. These habitats appeared to be very attractive for Odonata species and tend to favorize uncommon species present in the survey region such as Ischnura pumilio and Erythromma viridulum. Amphibian were found to be representative of anthropophilous guild.