Anthropogenic stressors are driving a steep decline of hemipteran diversity in dune ponds in north-eastern Algeria
In arid North Africa, dune ponds qualify as hotspots of aquatic biodiversity, offering numerous sustainable ecosystem services. Despite mounting anthropogenic pressures that threaten their integrity, the overall consequences of these changes have yet to be documented and no strategy to mitigate potential impacts is being implemented. We monitored four dune ponds in northeast Algeria during five hydrological cycles spanning the period 1996–2013. The analysis revealed a steep decline in species richness (47%) and abundance (94%) over the study period. Remote sensing-based data indicated that marked human-induced changes in and around these dune ponds have over time led to a substantial expansion of built areas and cultivated plots and a reduction in both natural wet- and dry-land habitats. Fish predation by the introduced fish, Gambusia holbrooki, may have had both direct and indirect impacts on notonectids. We argue that aquatic hemipterans have undergone an alarming reduction driven by a combination of invasive species, human encroachment, agricultural runoffs, and possibly, climate change.
KeywordsAquatic hemiptera Climate change Ecosystem services Mosquitofish North Africa Remote sensing Temporary ponds
We are most grateful to the Associate Editor and two anonymous referees for their valuable comments and suggestions. Help from N. Layachi, F. Terki and M. Mekki is gratefully acknowledged. This work was supported by the Algerian Ministère de l’Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche Scientifique (MESRS).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
This study was approved by the Algerian Ministère de l’Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche Scientifique (M.E.S.R.S.) and all procedures followed were in accordance with international ethical standards.
Research involving human participants
The research involved no human participant.
All the authors are in agreement with the version submitted and are in agreement with its publication in Journal of Insect Conservation.
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