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Invertebrates in small shallow lakes and ponds: a new sampling method to study the influence of environmental factors on their communities


Small shallow lakes (SSL) are reservoirs of biodiversity and provide numerous ecosystem services. Therefore, tools to easily and rapidly assess the biological integrity and conservation value of these aquatic ecosystems have been increasingly requested by environmental managers. In this study, we propose a new sampling method for monitoring aquatic invertebrates. This method, called S3i, allows to sample SSL with a surface area from 1 m2 to at least 20 ha. We applied the method to 268 SSL in France and used generalised additive models to investigate factors that correlate with (1) total richness, and (2) richness and relative abundance of functional group ε, i.e. group of taxa exclusive of SSL richness and determining SSL functioning. Elevation, surface area, and distance from the source—a proxy of river and watershed connectivity—were identified as determinants of invertebrate richness. Invasive crayfish may directly impact total and ε-richness, whereas fish impact ε-richness and ε-abundances. Shoreline vegetation and vegetation cover were especially determinant for total richness, ε-richness, and ε-relative abundance. The S3i was successfully applied to a wide diversity of SSL in France. The sampling method can be considered as rapid, reproductible, and representative for monitoring aquatic invertebrates in SSL and should be applied to the management of a worldwide range of small shallow lakes.

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This research followed the BIOME (BIOindication des Mares et Etangs) project, funded by Aquabio and the call for proposals “IPME Biodiversité” launched by ADEME, Grant Number 1682C0129. We would like to thank the Aquabio team, especially Joyce Lambert, Dewi Paulmier, David Serrette, and Nicolas Tarozzi, who assisted the first author during the sampling, and Aquabio colleagues who performed part of invertebrates counting and identification in laboratory. We also thank the Pyrenees National Park, the Regional Natural Parks of Bauges, Ballon des Vosges, Causses du Quercy, Livradois-Forez, Perigord-Limousin, Plateau des Millevaches, Prealps Cotes d’Azur, Volcans d’Auvergne, and Vosges du Nord; the EPTB Seine Grands Lacs; the Regional Conservatories of Natural Spaces of Aquitaine, Bourgogne, Lorraine and Limousin; the French National Forestry Office; the French National Office of Hunting and Wildlife, the Chartered Fisheries and Aquatic Environment Protection Departmental Federations of Dordogne, Gironde, Puy de Dome and Vosges; the Gironde Hunting Federation; Pinail and Glomel Reserve Associations, and the communities of the cities of Andernos, Sage-Blavet, and Tregor-Lannion. A special thanks to the managers or site owners who have granted permission to carry out sampling. The BIOME project was labelled by the scientific council of DREAM Competitiveness Cluster.

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Correspondence to Frédéric Labat.

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All the authors declare that there is no conflict of interests.

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The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are not publicly available due to private funding but are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

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Labat, F., Piscart, C. & Thiébaut, G. Invertebrates in small shallow lakes and ponds: a new sampling method to study the influence of environmental factors on their communities. Aquat Ecol 56, 585–603 (2022).

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  • Standing waterbodies
  • Depressional wetlands
  • Species richness and composition
  • Fish
  • Invasive crayfish