The aquatic macroinvertebrate biodiversity of urban ponds in a medium-sized European town (Loughborough, UK)
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Urbanisation is one of the greatest threats to freshwater biodiversity, with the area of land covered by towns and cities predicted to increase significantly in the future. Ponds are common features in the urban landscape and have been created for a variety of reasons ranging from ornamental/amenity purposes through to the detention of urban runoff and pollution. This paper aims to quantify the aquatic macroinvertebrate biodiversity associated with garden, ornamental and other urban ponds in Leicestershire, UK. We examined the macroinvertebrate biodiversity of 41 urban ponds (13 garden, 12 park and 16 other urban ponds) within the town of Loughborough, UK. Park ponds supported greater macroinvertebrate richness than garden or other urban ponds. Garden ponds were the most taxon poor. Pond size was strongly correlated with macroinvertebrate diversity. Collectively, urban ponds were found to be physically and biologically heterogeneous and were characterised by high community dissimilarity. Urban ponds provide a diverse range of habitats for a mixture of common and rare aquatic macroinvertebrate taxa and represent a valuable biodiversity resource within anthropogenically dominated landscapes. Recognition of the significant contribution of ponds to urban freshwater biodiversity is important for future aquatic conservation within anthropogenically dominated landscapes.
KeywordsUrbanisation Small lentic waterbodies Artificial habitat Anthropogenic ecosystems Invertebrate Pond management
The authors gratefully acknowledge Charnwood Borough Council, Loughborough University and the home owners that granted access to ponds located in their gardens. We would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their helpful and constructive comments on a draft of this manuscript which greatly improved the clarity and focus of the research. We are grateful to Stuart Ashby, Barry Kenny and Danielle Ashdown for help and assistance with field and laboratory work. MJH acknowledges the support of a Loughborough University Graduate School Studentship in the Department of Geography.
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