Original paper

Exploring differences in macroinvertebrate communities from emergent, floating-leaved and submersed vegetation in shallow ponds

Vande Meutter, Frank; Cottenie, Karl; De Meester, Luc

Abstract

An important driver of biodiversity is habitat structural complexity: more complex habitats generally contain more species. A good measure of habitat complexity therefore could be a strong tool to predict habitat biodiversity. In this pilot study, we test the significance of the classification of aquatic macrophytes that have similar complexity and shape into vegetation types (Emergent: Phragmites, Typha; Floating-Leaved Nymphaeidae: Nuphar; Submersed: Potamogeton, Utricularia) to explain macroinvertebrate community structure. Macroinvertebrate abundance and family richness increased from floating-leaved Nuphar to emergent and submersed vegetation. Family richness corrected for abundance did not differ among the vegetation types, possibly due to the small subsamples, but larger stands of Nuphar were needed to reach similar total richness. Six families that significantly differentiated between the vegetation types were associated with submersed and emergent vegetation. Vegetation type explained ∼21 % of the variation in macroinvertebrate community structure within a pond, and performed better than any other classification of macrophyte species in explaining variation. Thus, if these results stand generalization in space and time, vegetation type can be a fast and practical indicator of a pond's invertebrate density, and probably diversity.

Keywords

macrophytespond managementbiodiversityhabitat complexityspecies richness