, Volume 782, Issue 1, pp 187–199 | Cite as

Assessing the conservation status of Mediterranean temporary ponds using biodiversity: a new tool for practitioners

  • A. Lumbreras
  • J. T. Marques
  • A. F. Belo
  • M. Cristo
  • M. Fernandes
  • D. Galioto
  • M. Machado
  • A. Mira
  • P. Sá-Sousa
  • R. Silva
  • L. G. Sousa
  • C. Pinto-CruzEmail author


The assessment of the habitat condition is the first step of conservation actions and several tools are available to assess wetlands. However, only a few tools are adapted to the priority habitat Mediterranean temporary ponds. Thus, our objectives were (i) to identify biological indicators associated with the different conservation status of Mediterranean temporary ponds and (ii) to create an efficient evaluation tool for non-experts using indicators of conservation status. A total of 87 ponds were sampled in southwest Portugal to assess the presence of plants, large branchiopods, amphibians, threatened voles and bats. Ponds with favourable conservation status showed higher species richness of plants, large branchiopods and amphibians. We identified eighteen indicators for favourable ponds: 15 plants, one large branchiopod and two amphibian taxa. We propose a new tool to assess the conservation status of Mediterranean temporary ponds based on the presence of these indicators. This tool is an alternative to other common, but time-consuming, methods and can be readily used by trained practitioners. The replication and adaptation of this tool to other regions and habitats enables the collection of comparable data and the geographical scaling-up of the assessments.


Indicator species Plants Large branchiopods Amphibians Bats Voles 



We would like to thank the financial support of the LIFE Charcos project (LIFE12 NAT/PT/000997), from the European Union LIFE programme. Edgar Gomes, Núria Salvador, Cristina Baião, Joana Silva and Pedro Costa provided invaluable help during data collection. In order to conduct this research, in compliance with all laws and regulations for Portugal, we thank Instituto da Conservação da Natureza e Florestas (ICNF) for the collector’s permits.

Supplementary material

10750_2016_2697_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (94 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 94 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Lumbreras
    • 1
  • J. T. Marques
    • 1
    • 4
  • A. F. Belo
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. Cristo
    • 3
  • M. Fernandes
    • 2
  • D. Galioto
    • 2
  • M. Machado
    • 3
  • A. Mira
    • 2
    • 4
    • 5
  • P. Sá-Sousa
    • 1
    • 2
  • R. Silva
    • 2
    • 4
  • L. G. Sousa
    • 2
  • C. Pinto-Cruz
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.ICAAM - Instituto de Ciências Agrárias e Ambientais MediterrânicasUniversidade de Évora, Núcleo da MitraÉvoraPortugal
  2. 2.Departamento de Biologia, Escola de Ciências e TecnologiaUniversidade de ÉvoraÉvoraPortugal
  3. 3.CCMAR - Centro de Ciências do MarUniversidade do AlgarveFaroPortugal
  4. 4.Unidade de Biologia da Conservação, Departamento de BiologiaUniversidade de ÉvoraÉvoraPortugal
  5. 5.CIBIO - Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos GenéticosUniversidade de ÉvoraÉvoraPortugal

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