Environmental drivers of community diversity in a neotropical urban landscape: a multi-scale analysis
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Many aquatic communities are linked by the aerial dispersal of multiple, interacting species and are thus structured by processes occurring in both the aquatic and terrestrial compartments of the ecosystem.
To evaluate the environmental factors shaping the aquatic macroinvertebrate communities associated with tank bromeliads in an urban landscape.
Thirty-two bromeliads were georeferenced to assess the spatial distribution of the aquatic meta-habitat in one city. The relative influence of the aquatic and terrestrial habitats on the structure of macroinvertebrate communities was analyzed at four spatial scales (radius = 10, 30, 50, and 70 m) using redundancy analyses.
We sorted 18,352 aquatic macroinvertebrates into 29 taxa. Water volume and the amount of organic matter explained a significant part of the taxa variance, regardless of spatial scale. The remaining variance was explained by the meta-habitat size (i.e., the water volume for all of the bromeliads within a given surface area), the distance to the nearest building at small scales, and the surface area of buildings plus ground cover at larger scales. At small scales, the meta-habitat size influenced the two most frequent mosquito species in opposite ways, suggesting spatial competition and coexistence. Greater vegetation cover favored the presence of a top predator.
The size of the meta-habitat and urban landscape characteristics influence the structure of aquatic communities in tank bromeliads, including mosquito larval abundance. Modifications to this landscape will affect both the terrestrial and aquatic compartments of the urban ecosystem, offering prospects for mosquito management during urban planning.
KeywordsAquatic metacommunity Landscape ecology Mosquitoes Neotropics Scale dependency Tank bromeliads Urban ecology
We are grateful to Andrea Yockey-Dejean for proofreading the manuscript, the Laboratoire Environnement de Petit Saut for furnishing logistical assistance, and the municipality of Sinnamary (through the Department of the Environment) for permitting us to work inside the city limits. We also acknowledge Elise Bayle for her help in developing the GIS. Financial support was provided by the French Agence Nationale de la Recherche through an ‘‘Investissement d’Avenir’’ grant (CEBA, ref. ANR-10-LABX-25-01). ST and OD were each funded by a PhD fellowship (Université Antilles-Guyane for ST; French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and the Fond Social Européen for OD).
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