, Volume 551, Issue 1, pp 237–251 | Cite as

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

  • Olivier Scher
  • Alain Thièry


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.

Key words

freshwater biodiversity Odonata Amphibia fragmented habitat motorway stormwater retention pond 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.



This study was funded by a grant (No. 609/2001) by the Association Nationale de la Recherche Technique (ANRT) and the Société des Autoroutes du Sud de la France (ASF) as a part of O.␣Scher’s PhD thesis. We are grateful to M.␣Luglia and J.-P. Mevy for helping in the field work. We thank R. Simler who kindly provided␣support for ionic analysis. We also thank G.␣Nève, K. McNutt, M. Hellman and especially J.-F. Mauffrey for comments on earlier versions of this manuscript as well as the two anonymous referees for their useful comments.


  1. Abell, R., 2002. Conservation biology for the biodiversity crisis: a freshwater follow-up. Conservation Biology 16: 1435–1437Google Scholar
  2. ACEMAV (Association pour la Connaissance et l’Etude du Monde Animal et Végétal), 2003. Les amphibiens de France, Belgique et Luxembourg. Duguet. R., Melki F. (ed.), Biotope, MèzeGoogle Scholar
  3. Addinsoft, 2003. XLSTAT© version 6.1.9. http://www.xlstat.comGoogle Scholar
  4. D’ Aguilar, J., J.-L. Dommanget, 1998. Guide des libellules d’Europe et d’Afrique du nord. Delachaux et Niestlé S. A., LausanneGoogle Scholar
  5. Anthony, B. P. 2002Results of the first batrachian survey in Europe using road call countsAlytes205566Google Scholar
  6. Arnold, N., Ovenden, D. 2002.Reptiles and Amphibians. Britain and EuropeHarper Collins PublishersLondonGoogle Scholar
  7. Askew, R. R. 2004The Dragonflies of EuropeHarley BooksColchesterGoogle Scholar
  8. Barbosa, A. E., Hvitved-Jacobsen, T. 1999Highway runoff and potential for removal of heavy metals in an infiltration pond in PortugalThe Science of The Total Environment235151159PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Beja, P., Alcazar, R. 2003Conservation of Mediterranean temporary ponds under agricultural intensification: an evaluation using amphibiansBiological Conservation114317326CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bishop, C. A., Struger, J., Barton, D. R., Shirose, L. J., Dunn, L., Lang, A. L., Sheperd, D. 2000aContamination and Wildlife communities in stormwater retention ponds in Guelph and the greater Toronto area, Ontario, 1997 and 1998 Part I - Wildlife communitiesWater Quality Research Journal of Canada35399435Google Scholar
  11. Bishop, C. A., Struger, J., Barton, D. R., Shirose, L. J., Dunn, L., Lang, A. L., Sheperd, D. 2000bContamination and Wildlife communities in stormwater retention ponds in Guelph and the greater Toronto area, Ontario, 1997 and 1998.Part II - Contamination and biological effects of contaminationWater Quality Research Journal of Canada35437474Google Scholar
  12. Blondel, J., Aronson, J. 1999Biology and Wildlife of the Mediterranean RegionOxford University PressOxfordGoogle Scholar
  13. Bohemen (van), H. D. 1998Habitat fragmentation, infrastructure and ecological engineeringEcological Engineering11199207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Bridges, C. M. 1999Effects of a pesticide on tadpole activity and predator avoidance behaviorJournal of Herpetology33303306Google Scholar
  15. Bridges, C. M., Dwyer, F. J., Hardesty, D. K., Whites, D. W. 2002Comparative contaminant toxicity: are amphibian larvae more sensitive than fish?Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology69562569CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Bridges, C. M., Semlitsch, R. D. 2000Variation in pesticide tolerance of tadpoles among and within species of Ranidae and patterns of amphibian declineConservation Biology1414901499CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Bulánková, E. 1997Dragonflies (Odonata) as bioindicators of environment qualityBiologia Bratislava52177180Google Scholar
  18. Chapin, F. S.,III, Zavaleta, E. S., Eviners, V. T., Naylor, R. L., Vitousek, P. M., Reynolds, H. L., Hooper, D. U., Lavorel, S., Sala, O. E., Hobbie, S. E., Mack, M. C., Diaz, S. 2000Consequences of changing biodiversityNature405234242CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Clark, T. E., Samways, M. J. 1996Dragonflies (Odonata) as Indicators of Biotope Quality in the Kruger National Park, South AfricaJournal of Applied Ecology3310011012Google Scholar
  20. Crochet, P.-A., Chaline, O., Cheylan, M., Guillaume, C.-P. 2004No evidence of general decline in an amphibian community of Southern FranceBiological Conservation119297304CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Dobson, A. P. 1998Conservation and BiodiversityScientific American LibraryNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  22. Dodds, W. K. 2002Freshwater EcologyAcademic PressCaliforniaGoogle Scholar
  23. Duellman, W. E., Trueb, L. 1986Biology of Amphibians McGraw-HillNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  24. Fahrig, L. 2001How much habitat is enough?Biological Conservation1006574CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. C. Färm, 2001, Accumulation of sediment and heavy metals in a stormwater retention pond , Novatec, 4th International Conference on Innovative Technologies in Urban Storm Drainage, Lyon, France, 25–27 June 2001Google Scholar
  26. Forman R. T. T., D. Sperling, J. A. Bissonette, A. P. Clevenger, C. D. Cutshall, V. H. Dale, L. Fahrig, R. France, C. R. Goldman, K. Heanue, J. A. Jones, F. J. Swanson, T. Turrentines & T. C. Winter, 2003. Road Ecology. Island press, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  27. Geneletti, D. 2003Biodiversity Impact Assessment of roads: an approach based on ecosystem rarityEnvironmental Impact Assessment Review23343365CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hamers, T., Smit, L. A. M., Bosveld, A. T. C., Berg, J. H. J., Koeman, J. H., Schooten, F. J. 2002Lack of a distinct gradient in biomarker responses in small mammals collected at different distances from a highwayArchives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology43345355CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Hecnar, S. J., M’Closkey, R. T. 1996aSpecies richness patterns of amphibians in south-western Ontario pondsJournal of Biogeography25763772CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hecnar, S. J., M’Closkey, R. T. 1996bRegional dynamics and the status of amphibiansEcology7720912097Google Scholar
  31. Heidemann, H., Seidenbusch, R. 2002Larves et exuvies des libellules de France et d’Allemagne (sauf de Corse)Société Française d’OdonatologieBois d’ArcyGoogle Scholar
  32. Hels, T., Buchwald, E. 2001The effect of road kills on amphibian populationsBiological Conservation99331340CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. IFEN (Institut Français pour l’Environnement)2003L’artificialisation s’étend sur tout le territoireLes données de l’environnement8014Google Scholar
  34. Joly, P., Miaud, C., Lehmann, A., Grolet, O. 2001Habitat matrix effects on pond occupancy in newtsConservation Biology15239248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lee, P.-K., Touray, J.-C., Baillif, P., Ildefonse, J.-P. 1997Heavy metal contamination of settling particles in a retention pond along the A−71 motorway in Sologne, FranceThe Science of The Total Environment201115CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Legret, M., Pagotto., C. 1999Evaluation of pollutant loadings in the runoff waters from a major rural highwayThe Science of The Total Environment235143150CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Legret, M. 2001 Pollution et impact d’eaux de ruissellement de chausséesLaboratoire Central des Ponts et Chaussées ParisGoogle Scholar
  38. Leyse, K. E., Lawler, S. P., Strange, T. 2004Effects of an alien fish, Gambusia affinis, on an endemic California fairy shrimp, Linderiella occidentalis: implications for conservation of diversity in fishless watersBiological Conservation1185765CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Lincoln, R., Boxshall, G., Clark, P. 1998A Dictionary of Ecology, Evolution and SystematicsCambridge University PressCambridgeGoogle Scholar
  40. Löfvenhaft, K., Runborg, S., Sjögren-Gulve, P. 2003Biotope patterns and amphibian distribution as assessment tools in urban landscape planningLandscape and Urban Planning68403427Google Scholar
  41. Mantel, N. 1967A technique of disease clustering and a generalized regression approachCancer Research27209220PubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Masselot, G., Nel, A. 2003Les Odonates sont-ils des taxons bio-indicateurs?Martinia19740Google Scholar
  43. Miaud, C., Merilä, J. 2000Local adaptation or environmental induction? causes of population differentiation in alpine amphibiansBiota2/13150Google Scholar
  44. Munguira, M. L., Thomas, J. A. 1992Use of road verges by butterfly and burnet populations, and the effect of roads on adult dispersal and mortalityJournal of Applied Ecology29316329Google Scholar
  45. Olioso, G. 1996Oiseaux de Vaucluse et de la Drôme provençaleQuetzal CommunicationsClichyGoogle Scholar
  46. OMS IPCS, 1998. Environmental Health Critera No. 200: copper. World Health Organisation, International Programme on Chemical Safety. http://www.inchem.orgGoogle Scholar
  47. OMS IPCS, 2001. Environmental Health Critera No. 221: copper. Worl Health Organisation, International Programme on Chemical Safety. http://www.inchem.orgGoogle Scholar
  48. Pagotto, C. 1999 Etude sur l’emission et le transfert dans les eaux et les sols des éléments traces metalliques et des hydrocarbures en domaine routierPhD. Université de PoitiersPoitiersGoogle Scholar
  49. Peyre, O., Olioso, G., Joubert, V. 2003Atlas préliminaire de répartition des reptiles et amphibiens du VaucluseC.R.O.P AvignonGoogle Scholar
  50. Scholes, L., Shutes, R. B. E., Revitt, D. M., Forshaw, M., Purchase, D. 1998The treatment of metals in urban runoff by constructed wetlandsThe Science of The Total Environment214211219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Scoccianti, C. 2001Amphibia: aspetti di ecologia della conservazione, (Amphibia: aspects of conservation ecology)Guido Persichino Grafica FirenzeGoogle Scholar
  52. Semlitsch R. D., 2003. Amphibian Conservation, Smithsonian Institution, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  53. SFO (Société Française d’Odonatologie), 2002. Inventaire cartographique des odonates de France, Bilan 1982–2000. Martinia 18: 63–64Google Scholar
  54. Sriyaraj, K., Shutes, R. B. E. 2001An assessment of the impact of motorway runoff on a pond, wetland and streamEnvironment International26433439CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. Trombulak, S. C., Frissell, C. A. 2000Review of ecological effects of roads on terrestrial and aquatic communitiesConservation Biology141830CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Veillerette, F. 2002 Pesticides, le piège se refermeTerre vivante MensGoogle Scholar
  57. Vos, C. C., Chardon., J. P. 1998Effects of habitat fragmentation and road density on the distribution pattern of the moor frog Rana arvalisJournal of Applied Ecology354456CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Wendler, A., Nüss, J. H. 1997Libellules Société Française d’OdonatologieBois d’ArcyGoogle Scholar
  59. Williams, P., Whitfield, M., Biggs, J., Bray, S., Fox, G., Nicolet, P., Sear., D. 2004Comparative biodiversity of rivers, streams, ditches and ponds in an agricultural landscape in Southern EnglandBiological Conservation115329341CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Wood, P. J., Barker., S. 2000Old industrial mill ponds: a neglected ecological resourceApplied Geography206581CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Wood, P. J., Greenwood, M. T., Agnew., M. D. 2003Pond biodiversity and habitat loss in the UKArea35206216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Wren, C. D., Bishop, C. A., Stewart, D. L., Barrett., G. C. 1997Wildlife and Contaminants in Constructed Wetlands and Stormwater Ponds: Current State of Knowledge and Protocols for Monitoring Levels and Effects in WildlifeCanadian Wildlife ServiceOntario regionGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire de Biologie AnimaleUniversité de Provence, E.R. Biodiversité et Environnement, Case 18MarseilleFrance

Personalised recommendations