Seasonal and spatial patterns of macroinvertebrate assemblages and environmental conditions in Mediterranean temporary ponds in Greece

Abstract

Mediterranean temporary ponds in Greece have been neglected, and only recently has attention been drawn to their protection and conservation. In this study, the macroinvertebrate fauna of the Mediterranean temporary ponds of western Crete was examined for the first time. In particular, the seasonal and spatial patterns of macroinvertebrate communities were assessed along with the spatio-temporal variation of their environmental conditions and hydroperiod variation. Benthic fauna and abiotic (physicochemical, hydroperiod) data were monitored for 3 years (2006–2008). A total of 63 macroinvertebrate taxa belonging to 33 families were recorded, with Plea minutissima, Berosus affinis, Pericoma sp., Culex sp., Chironomidae and Cyprididae being the most abundant. Nutrient pollution was significant in the ponds situated near agricultural areas and could thus explain the poor species richness. NMDS showed a clear spatial and temporal distinction between lowland and upland sites. Heteroptera species were exclusively encountered in spring, while Coleoptera larvae and adults were present in all seasons, with adults being more abundant during winter. Ordination analysis revealed significant seasonal and inter-annual differences in macroinvertebrate assemblage structure, as confirmed by ANOSIM (R = 0.965, p = 0.001). Species richness was relatively lower compared to temporary ponds from other regions because of their isolated character, unpredictable hydroperiod and degraded water quality. This study highlights that these fragile ecosystems sustain a unique invertebrate fauna able to endure pond drying by several survival traits and therefore their conservation and protection is necessary.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9

References

  1. Angélibert S, Marty P, Céréghino R, Giani N (2004) Seasonal variations in the physical and chemical characteristics of ponds: implications for biodiversity conservation. Aquat Conserv Mar Freshw Ecosyst 14:439–456

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Balla SA, Davis JA (1995) Seasonal variation in the macroinvertebrate fauna of wetlands of differing water regime and nutrient status on the Swan Coastal Plain. Western Australia. Hydrobiologia 299:147–161

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Battle J, Golladay SW (2001) Water quality and macroinvertebrate assemblages in three types of seasonally inundated limesink wetlands in southwest Georgia. J Fresh Ecol 16:189–207

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Bazzanti M, Della Bella V, Seminara M (2003) Factors affecting macroinvertebrate communities in astatic ponds in central Italy. J Fresh Ecol 18:537–548

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Bazzanti M, Della Bella V, Grezzi F (2009) Functional characteristics of macroinvertebrate communities in Mediterranean ponds (Central Italy): influence of water permanence and mesohabitat type. Ann Limnol Int J Lim 45:29–39

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Beja P, Alcazar R (2003) Conservation of mediterranean temporary ponds under agricultural intensification: an evaluation using amphibians. Biol Conserv 114:317–326

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Blaustein L, Schwartz SS (2001) Why study ecology in temporary pools? J Zool 47:303–312

    Google Scholar 

  8. Brendonck L, Michels E, De Meester L, Riddoch B (2002) Temporary pools are not enemy free. Hydrobiologia 486:147–159

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Briers RA, Biggs J (2003) Indicator taxa for the conservation of pond invertebrate diversity. Aquat Conserv Mar Freshwat Ecosyst 13:323–330

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Brooks RT (2000) Annual and seasonal variation and the effect of hydroperiod on benthic macroinvertebrates of seasonal forest (‘‘vernal’’) ponds in central Massachusetts, USA. Wetlands 20(4):707–715

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Céréghino R, Biggs J, Oertli B, Declerck S (2008) The ecology of European ponds: defining the characteristics of a neglected freshwater habitat. Hydrobiologia 597:1–6

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Chapman MG, Underwood AJ (1999) Ecological patterns in multivariate assemblages: information and interpretation of negative values in anosim tests. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 180:257–265

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Clarke KR, Warwick RM (1994) Changes in marine communities. An approach to statistical analysis and interpretation, Natural Environmental Research Council, UK

  14. Collinson NH, Biggs J, Corfield A, Hodson MJ, Walker D, Whitfield M, Williams PJ (1995) Temporary and permanent ponds: an assessment of the effects of drying out on the conservation value of aquatic macroinvertebrate communities. Biol Conserv 74:125–133

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Corbet PS (1999) Dragonflies behaviour and ecology of Odonata. Harley Books, Colchester

    Google Scholar 

  16. De Meester L, Declerck S, Stoks R, Louette G, van De Meutter F, De Bie T, Michels E, Brendonck L (2005) Ponds and pools as model systems in conservation biology, ecology and evolutionary biology. Aquat Conserv Mar Freshwat Ecosyst 15:715–725

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Della Bella V, Bazzanti M, Chiarotti F (2005) Macroinvertebrate diversity and conservation status of mediterranean ponds in Italy: water permanence and mesohabitat influence. Aquat Conserv Mar Freshwat Ecosyst 15:583–600

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Dimitriou E, Karaouzas I, Skoulikidis N, Zacharias I (2006) Assessing the environmental status of mediterranean temporary ponds of Greece. Ann Limnol Int J Lim 42:33–41

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Dimitriou E, Moussoulis E, Stamati F, Nikolaidis N (2009) Modelling hydrological characteristics of Mediterranean Temporary Ponds and potential impacts from climate Change. Hydrobiologia 634:195–208

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. E.P.C.N (2007) Developing the Pond Manifesto. Ann Limnol Int J Lim 43:221–232

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Florencio M, Serrano L, Gómez-Rodríguez C, Millán A, Díaz-Paniagua C (2009) Inter and intra-annual variations of macroinvertebrate assemblages are related to the hydroperiod in Mediterranean temporary ponds. Hydrobiologia 634:167–183

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Ghosn D, Vogiatzakis IN, Kazakis G, Dimitriou E, Moussoulis E, Maliaka V, Zacharias I (2010) Ecological changes in the highest temporary pond of western Crete (Greece): past, present and future. Hydrobiologia 648:3–18

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Grillas P, Gauthier P, Yavercovski N, Perennou C (2004) Mediterranean Temporary Pools vol 1: issues relating to conservation, functioning and management. Station biologique de la Tour du Valat

  24. Hornung JP, Foote AL (2006) Aquatic invertebrate responses to fish presence and vegetation complexity in western boreal wetlands with implications for waterbird productivity. Wetlands 26:1–12

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Jakob C, Poizat G, Veith M, Seitz A, Crivelli AJ (2003) Breeding phenology and larval distribution of amphibians in a Mediterranean pond network with unpredictable hydrology. Hydrobiologia 499:51–61

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Johansson F, Suhling F (2004) Behaviour and growth of dragonfly larvae along a permanent to temporary water habitat gradient. Ecol Entomol 29:196–202

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. King JL (1996) Loss of diversity as a consequence of habitat destruction in California vernal pools In: Witham CW, Bauder ET, Belk D, Ferren Jr WR, Ornduff R, (eds). ecology, conservation, and management of vernal pool ecosystems proceedings from a 1996 Conference. 19–21 June 1996 California Native Plant Society. Sacramento (CA), pp 119–123

  28. Leps J, Smilauer P (2003) Multivariate analysis of ecological data using CANOCO. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  29. March F, Bass D (1995) Application of island biogeography theory to temporary pools. J Fresh Ecol 10:83–85

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Nicolet P, Ruggiero A, Biggs J (2007) Second European pond workshop: conservation of pond biodiversity in a changing European landscape. Ann Limnol Int J Lim 43:77–80

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Oertli B, Joye DA, Castella E, Juge R, Cambin D, Lachavanne JB (2002) Does size matter? The relationship between pond area and biodiversity. Biol Conserv 104:59–70

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Pearman PB (1995) Effects of pond size and consequent predator density on two species of tadpoles. Oecologia 102:1–8

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Rhazi M, Grillas P, Charpentier A, Médail F (2004) Experimental management of Mediterranean temporary pools for conservation of the rare quillwort “Isoetes setacea”. Biol Conserv 118:675–684

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Roth AH, Jackson JF (1987) The Effect of Pool Size on Recruitment of Predatory Insects and on Mortality in a Larval Anuran. Herpetologica 43:224–232

    Google Scholar 

  35. Schneider DW (1999) Invertebrates in freshwater wetlands of North America influence of hydroperiod on invertebrate community structure. Wiley, New York (USA), pp 299–318

    Google Scholar 

  36. Schneider DW, Frost TM (1996) Habitat duration and community structure in temporary ponds. J N Am Benthol Soc. 15:64–86

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Smith GR, Vaala DA, Dingfelder HA (2003) Distribution and abundance of macroinvertebrates within two temporary ponds. Hydrobiologia 497:161–167

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Stamati F, Nikolaidis N (2006) Hydrology and geochemistry of the Mediterranean temporary ponds of western crete. Actions for the conservation of the mediterranean temporary ponds in crete. Crete : Technical University of Crete, Laboratory of Hydrogeochemical Engineering and Remediation of Soils (Greece)

  39. Suhling F, Schenk K, Padeffke T, Martens A (2004) A field study of larval development in a dragonfly assemblage in African desert ponds (Odonata). Hydrobiologia 528:75–85

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. ter Braak CJF, Prentice C (1988) A theory of gradient analysis. Adv Ecol Res 18:271–317

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Trigal CF, Garcia-Criado F, Alaez CF (2007) Macroinvertebrate communities of Mediterranean ponds (North Iberian Plateau): importance of natural and human-induced variability. Freshwater Biol 52:2042–2055

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Waterkeyn A, Grillas P, Vanschoenwinkel B, Brendonck L (2008) Invertebrate community patterns in Mediterranean temporary wetlands along hydroperiod and salinity gradients. Freshwater Biol 53:1808–1822

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Wilcox C (2001) Habitat size and isolation affect colonization of seasonal wetlands by predatory aquatic insects. Israel J Zool 47:459–475

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Williams DD (1997) Temporary ponds and their invertebrate communities. Aquat Conserv Mar Freshwat Ecosyst 7:105–117

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Williams P, Whitfield M, Biggs J, Bray S, Fox G, Nicolet P, Sear D (2004) Comparative biodiversity of rivers, streams, ditches and ponds in an agricultural landscape in Southern England. Biol Conserv 115:329–341

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Zacharias I, Dimitrou E, Dekker A, Dorsman E (2007) Overview of temporary ponds in the Mediterranean region: threats, management and conservation issues. J Environ Biol 28:1–9

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  47. Zacharias I, Parasidoy A, Bergmeier E, Kehayias G, Dimitriou E, Dimopoulos P (2008) A “DPSIR” model for Mediterranean temporary ponds: European, national and local scale comparisons. Ann Limnol Int J Lim. 44:253–266

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Zimmer KD, Hanson MA, Butler MG, Duffy WG (2001) Size distribution of aquatic invertebrates in two prairie wetlands, with and without fish, with implications for community production. Freshwater Biol. 46:1373–1386

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

This study was funded by the LIFE-Nature project entitled: “Actions for the conservation of Mediterranean Temporary Ponds in Crete”. The authors wish to thank the two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments towards the improving this manuscript.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ioannis Karaouzas.

Additional information

Handling Editor: Hideyuki Doi.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Karaouzas, I., Dimitriou, E., Lampou, A. et al. Seasonal and spatial patterns of macroinvertebrate assemblages and environmental conditions in Mediterranean temporary ponds in Greece. Limnology 16, 41–53 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10201-014-0437-0

Download citation

Keywords

  • Mediterranean temporary ponds
  • Macroinvertebrates
  • Assemblages
  • Conservation
  • Greece