Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 829–852 | Cite as

Temporal dynamics of aquatic communities and implications for pond conservation

  • Christopher Hassall
  • James Hollinshead
  • Andrew Hull
Original Paper

Abstract

Conservation through the protection of particular habitats is predicated on the assumption that the conservation value of those habitats is stable. We test this assumption for ponds by investigating temporal variation in macroinvertebrate and macrophyte communities over a 10-year period in northwest England. We surveyed 51 ponds in northern England in 1995/6 and again in 2006, identifying all macrophytes (167 species) and all macroinvertebrates (221 species, excluding Diptera) to species. The alpha-diversity, beta-diversity and conservation value of these ponds were compared between surveys. We find that invertebrate species richness increased from an average of 29.5 species to 39.8 species between surveys. Invertebrate gamma-diversity also increased between the two surveys from 181 species to 201 species. However, this increase in diversity was accompanied by a decrease in beta-diversity. Plant alpha-, beta- and gamma-diversity remained approximately constant between the two periods. However, increased proportions of grass species and a complete loss of charophytes suggests that the communities are undergoing succession. Conservation value was not correlated between sampling periods in either plants or invertebrates. This was confirmed by comparing ponds that had been disturbed with those that had no history of disturbance to demonstrate that levels of correlation between surveys were approximately equal in each group of ponds. This study has three important conservation implications: (i) a pond with high diversity or high conservation value may not remain that way and so it is unwise to base pond conservation measures upon protecting currently-speciose habitats; (ii) maximising pond gamma-diversity requires a combination of late and early succession ponds, especially for invertebrates; and (iii) invertebrate and plant communities in ponds may require different management strategies if succession occurs at varying rates in the two groups.

Keywords

Biodiversity Conservation Invertebrates Plants Pond Succession Temporal 

References

  1. Angélibert S, Marty P, Céréghino R, Giani N (2004) Seasonal variations in the physical and chemical characteristics of ponds: implications for biodiversity conservation. Aquat Conserv Marine Freshw Ecosyst 14:439–456CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Angélibert S, Rosset V, Indermuehle N, Oertli B (2010) The pond biodiversity index “IBEM”: a new tool for the rapid assessment of biodiversity in ponds from Switzerland. Part 1. Index development. Limnetica 29:93–104Google Scholar
  3. Barnes LE (1983) The colonisation of ball-clay ponds by macroinvertebrates and macrophytes. Freshw Biol 13:561–578CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Biggs J, Williams P, Whitfield M, Nicolet P, Weatherby A (2005) 15 years of pond assessment in Britain: results and lessons learned from the work of Pond Conservation. Aquat Conserv Marine Freshw Ecosyst 15:693–714CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Boothby J (1997) Pond conservation: towards a delineation of pondscape. Aquat Conserv Marine Freshw Ecosyst 7:127–132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Boothby J, Hull AP (1997) A census of ponds in Cheshire, North West England. Aquat Conserv Marine Freshw Ecosyst 7:75–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Briers RA, Warren PH (2000) Population turnover and habitat dynamics in Notonecta (Hemiptera: Notonectidae) metapopulations. Oecologia 123:216–222CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Céréghino R, Biggs J, Oertli B, Declerck S (2008) The ecology of European ponds: defining the characteristics of a neglected freshwater habitat. Hydrobiologia 597:1–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chadd R, Extence C (2004) The conservation of freshwater macroinvertebrate populations: a community-based classification scheme. Aquat Conserv Marine Freshw Ecosyst 14:597–624CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chase JM (2007) Drought mediates the importance of stochastic community assembly. Proc Natl Acad Sci 104:17430–17434PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cottenie K, De Meester L (2003) Connectivity and cladoceran species richness in a metacommunity of shallow lakes. Freshw Biol 48:823–832CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Davies B, Biggs J, Williams P, Whitfield M, Nicolet P, Sear D, Bray S, Maund S (2008) Comparative biodiversity of aquatic habitats in the European agricultural landscape. Agric Ecosyst Environ 125:1–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Downing JA, Cole JJ, Middelburg JJ, Striegel RG, Duarte CM, Kortelainen P, Prairie YT and Laube KA (2008) Sediment organic carbon burial in agriculturally eutrophic impoundments over the last century. Glob Biogeochem Cycles 22:GB1018Google Scholar
  14. Eyre MD, Ball SG, Foster GN (1986) An initial classification of the habitats of aquatic Coleoptera in north–east England. J Appl Ecol 23:841–852CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fairchild GW, Faulds AM, Matta JF (2000) Beetle assemblages in ponds: effects of habitat and site age. Freshw Biol 44:523–534CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fortuna MA, Gómez-Rodríguez C, Bascompte J (2006) Spatial network structure and amphibian persistence in stochastic environments. Proc Royal Soc Ser B (Biological Sciences) 273:1429–1434CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hassall C, Hollinshead J, Hull A (2011) Environmental correlates of plant and invertebrate species richness in ponds. Biodivers Conserv 20:3189–3222CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hawkins J, Schofield D (2003) Scoping the potential for farm ponds to provide environmental benefits. IGER, North WykeGoogle Scholar
  19. Indermuehle N, Oertli B, Menetrey N, Sager L (2004) An overview of methods potentially suitable for pond biodiversity assessment. Arch Sci 57:131–140Google Scholar
  20. Indermuehle N, Angélibert S, Rosset V, Oertli B (2010) The pond biodiversity index “IBEM”: a new tool for the rapid assessment of biodiversity in ponds from Switzerland. Part 2. Method description and examples of application. Limnetica 29:105–120Google Scholar
  21. Jeffries MJ (1994) Invertebrate communities and turnover in wetland ponds affected by drought. Freshw Biol 32:603–612CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Jeffries MJ (2005) Small ponds and big landscapes: the challenge of invertebrate spatial and temporal dynamics for European pond conservation. Aquat Conserv Marine Freshw Ecosyst 15:541–547CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Jeffries MJ (2008) The spatial and temporal heterogeneity of macrophyte communities in thirty small, temporary ponds over a period of ten years. Ecography 31:765–775CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Jeffries MJ (2011) The temporal dynamics of temporary pond macroinvertebrate communities over a 10-year period. Hydrobiologia 661:391–405CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Koleff P, Gaston KJ, Lennon JJ (2003) Measuring beta diversity for presence–absence data. J Anim Ecol 72:367–382CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Macan TT (1977) A twenty-year study of the fauna in the vegetation of a moorland fishpond. Archiv für Hydrobiologie 81:1–24Google Scholar
  27. Menetrey N, Sager L, Lachavanne JB, Oertli B (2005) Looking for metrics to assess the trophic state of ponds. Macroinvertebrates and amphibians. Aquat Conserv Marine Freshw Ecosyst 15:653–664CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Moore NW (1991) A 27 year study on small ponds at Woodwalton Fen, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom. Odonatologica 20:203–231Google Scholar
  29. Moss B (1998) Ecology of freshwaters: man and medium, past to future. Blackwell, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  30. Oertli B, Joye DA, Castella E, Juge R, Lehmann A, Lachavanne J-B (2005) PLOCH: a standardized method for sampling and assessing the biodiversity in ponds. Aquat Conserv Marine Freshw Ecosyst 15:665–679CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Oskanen J, Kindt R, Legendre P, O’Hara B and Stevens MHM (2007) vegan: Community ecology package, R package version 1.8-8. http://cran.r-project.org/, http://r-forge.r-project.org/projects/vegan/
  32. R Development Core Team (2006) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, ViennaGoogle Scholar
  33. Raebel EM, Merckx T, Riordan P, Macdonald DW, Thompson DJ (2010) The dragonfly delusion: why it is essential to sample exuviae to avoid biased surveys. J Insect Conserv 14:523–533CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Sherratt TN, Thomas CJ, Conrad KF, Willson KH, Harvey IF (1999) Landscape approaches in ecotoxicology. The Association of Applied Biologists. Aspects of Applied Biology, Warwick, pp 227–234Google Scholar
  35. Wade PM (1990) The colonisation of disturbed freshwater habitats by Characeae. Folia Geobot 25:275–278Google Scholar
  36. Wanielista MP, Yousef YA (1993) Stormwater management. Wiley, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  37. Williams P, Biggs J, Whitfield M, Thorne A, Bryant S, Fox G, Nicolet P (1999) The pond book: a guide to the management and creation of ponds. Ponds Conservation Trust, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  38. Williams P, Whitfield M, Biggs J, Bray S, Fox G, Nicolet P, Sear DA (2004) Comparative biodiversity of rivers, streams, ditches and ponds in an agricultural landscape in Southern England. Biol Conserv 115:329–341CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Williams P, Whitfield M, Biggs J (2008) How can we make new ponds biodiverse? A case study monitored over 7 years. Hydrobiologia 597:137–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher Hassall
    • 1
  • James Hollinshead
    • 2
  • Andrew Hull
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiologyCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada
  2. 2.School of Humanities and Social ScienceLiverpool John Moores UniversityLiverpoolUK

Personalised recommendations