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Research article2017Peer reviewed

Unravelling the correlates of species richness and ecological uniqueness in a metacommunity of urban pond insects

Heino, Jani; Bini, Luis Mauricio; Andersson, Johan; Bergsten, Johannes; Bjelke, Ulf; Johansson, Frank


City ponds have the potential to harbour a rich biodiversity of aquatic insects despite being located in an urban landscape. However, our current knowledge on the correlates of pond biodiversity is limited and even less is known about the factors that influence the ecological uniqueness of urban ponds. The multiple environmental gradients, at different spatial scales, that may affect biodiversity and ecological uniqueness of urban ponds can thus be seen both as an opportunity and as a challenge for a study. In this study, we aimed to fill this gap by focusing on aquatic insect assemblages in 51 ponds in the Swedish city of Stockholm, using a metacommunity perspective. We found that species richness was primarily determined by the density of aquatic insects, water depth and proportion of buildings around the pond. The uniqueness of ponds was estimated as local contributions to beta diversity (LCBD), and it was primarily related to the proportion of arable land and industry around the ponds. With regard to the metacommunity we found two interesting patterns. First, there was a negative relationship between richness and LCBD. Second, biodiversity was spatially independent, suggesting that spatially-patterned dispersal did not structure species richness or LCBD. These last two patterns are important when considering conservation efforts of biodiversity in city ponds. We hence suggest that the conservation of insect biodiversity in urban pond should consider the surroundings of the ponds, and that high-richness ponds are not necessarily those that require most attention because they are not ecologically the most unique. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Aquatic insects; Beta diversity; Biodiversity indicators; Community ecology; Landscape features; Local conditions

Published in

Ecological Indicators
2017, Volume: 73, pages: 422-431

    Sustainable Development Goals

    Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
    Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

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