Environmental correlates of aquatic macroinvertebrate diversity in garden ponds: Implications for pond management

Matthew Hill, Paul Wood, James White, I Thornhill, Win Fairchild, Penny Williams, Pascale Nicolet, Jeremy Biggs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Garden ponds are a ubiquitous feature of urban landscapes and have the potential to be an important resource for biodiversity. However, the environmental and spatial factors influencing ecological communities within garden ponds have been poorly quantified to date, despite such evidence being critical to the development of effective management strategies that support biodiversity. This study aims to identify the environmental and spatial factors influencing macroinvertebrate richness, abundance and compositional variation among garden ponds and provide management recommendations at the local and landscape scale. In total, 99 macroinvertebrate taxa were recorded from 30 garden ponds. A negative association was recorded between ecological uniqueness (measured as the Local Contribution to Beta-Diversity) and taxonomic richness among the garden ponds, and those ponds with high ecological uniqueness typically displayed high replacement (turnover) values. Surface area, total plant richness and non-native plant richness were positively associated with macroinvertebrate richness. Taxonomic richness and abundance predominantly displayed a negative association with conductivity levels. Current management practices for garden ponds are highly variable, often focussed on individual ponds. Based on the findings of this study, we recommend that management should focus on making garden pond surface areas as large as possible, ensure that there is a wide variety of native aquatic plant species present and manage conductivity levels. Garden ponds likely comprise a significant component of the urban freshwater network, and considering their management at both local and landscape scales will ensure that biotic communities inhabiting urban landscapes can be more effectively supported.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalInsect Conservation and Diversity
Early online date16 Nov 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Mar 2024

Keywords

  • LCBD
  • freshwater conservation
  • landscape-scale
  • macroinvertebrate
  • taxonomic richness
  • urban ponds

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