Urbanization impacts the taxonomic and functional structure of aquatic macroinvertebrate communities in a small Neotropical city
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Due to habitat fragmentation, resource disruption and pollution, urbanization is one of the most destructive forms of anthropization affecting ecosystems worldwide. Generally, human-mediated perturbations dramatically alter species diversity in urban sites compared to the surroundings, thus influencing the functioning of the entire ecosystem. We investigated the taxonomic and functional diversity patterns of the aquatic macroinvertebrate communities in tank bromeliads by comparing those found in a small Neotropical city with those from an adjacent rural site. Changes in the quality of detrital inputs in relation to lower tree diversity and the presence of synanthropic species are likely important driving forces behind the observed structural changes in the urban site. Leaf-litter processors (i.e., shredders, scrapers) were positively affected in the urban site, while filter-feeders that process smaller particles produced by the activity of the shredders were negatively affected. Because we cannot ascertain whether the decline in filter-feeders is related to food web-mediated effects or to competitive exclusion (Aedes aegypti mosquitoes were present in urban bromeliads only), further studies are necessary to account for the effects of intra-guild competition or inter-guild facilitation.
KeywordsAedes aegypti Bioindicator Diversity Functional traits 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. This study has benefited from an Investissement d’Avenir grant managed by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (CEBA, ref. ANR-10-LABX-0025). ST and OD were funded by a PhD scholarship (Université Antilles-Guyane for ST; French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and the Fond Social Européen for OD).
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