Urban Ecosystems

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 1353–1372 | Cite as

Assessing aquatic biodiversity of zooplankton communities in an urban landscape

  • El-Amine MimouniEmail author
  • Bernadette Pinel-Alloul
  • Beatrix E. Beisner


Aquatic ecosystems are common in urban environments. A solid understanding of aquatic species’ distributions in urban habitats will both advance urban ecology and preserve biodiversity in cities. In particular, zooplankton are central components of aquatic food webs and their biodiversity patterns thus warrant further characterization and understanding. We examined sources of variation and biodiversity patterns of zooplankton communities across eighteen waterbodies in the urban landscape of Canada’s large island city of Montreal. We report a total of 80 zooplankton taxa of which rotifers and cladocerans were major contributing taxa to biodiversity. We found a lack of agreement between contributions of individual waterbodies to rotifer and cladoceran beta diversity. Littoral vegetated zones proved to be important habitats for zooplankton biodiversity, contributing considerably to the species richness pool, often with a different species composition. Further variation in zooplankton community composition was attributable to local factors such as waterbody size, algal biomass and composition, and macroinvertebrate predators, but also to urban management practices such as waterbody draining during winter. We show that urban waterbodies can represent important reservoirs of biodiversity. Management practices favoring a large diversity of permanent and temporary habitats with littoral vegetated zones should be incorporated in urban design and conservation plans.


Biodiversity Zooplankton Community structure Urban ecology Littoral zone 



El-Amine Mimouni, Ph.D. candidate, is supported by the collaborative research funds of the GRIL (Groupe de Recherche Interuniversitaire en Limnologie et en Environnement Aquatique) and the CSBQ (Centre de la Science de la Biodiversité du Québec). We thank Pierre Legendre for several engaging discussion regarding the statistical aspects and for comments on an earlier draft of the manuscript. We also thank students and research fellows who participated to field sampling (Adrien André, Anne-Hélène Lejeune, Joseph Nzieleu Tchapgnouo, Ginette Méthot, Lama Aldamman) or laboratory analysis (Louise Cloutier, Maryse Robert, Nicolas Dedieu). The research was supported by grants to BPA and BEB through the CRSNG (Conseil de Recherche en Sciences Naturelles et en Génie) and the FQRNT (Fonds de Recherche du Québec – Nature et Technologies).

Conflicts of interests

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (DOCX 65.9 kb)
11252_2015_457_MOESM2_ESM.docx (52 kb)
ESM 2 (DOCX 52.2 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • El-Amine Mimouni
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  • Bernadette Pinel-Alloul
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  • Beatrix E. Beisner
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Département de Sciences BiologiquesUniversité de MontréalMontréalCanada
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of Québec at MontréalMontréalCanada
  3. 3.Groupe de Recherche Interuniversitaire en Limnologie et Environnement Aquatique (GRIL)MontréalCanada
  4. 4.Centre de la Science de la Biodiversité du Québec (CSBQ)MontréalCanada

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