Comparative biodiversity of aquatic habitats in the European agricultural landscape

Davies, Bella, Biggs, Jeremy, Williams, Penny, Whitfield, Mericia, Nicolet, Pascale, Sear, David, Bray, Simon and Maund, Steve (2008) Comparative biodiversity of aquatic habitats in the European agricultural landscape. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 125, (1-4), 1-8. (doi:10.1016/j.agee.2007.10.006).


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Recent evidence has begun to call into question the assumption that aquatic biodiversity is concentrated exclusively in larger rivers and lakes, instead showing that it is distributed throughout the landscape and that small waterbodies, such as ponds and ditches, make a significant contribution to biodiversity. We compared the physicochemical and aquatic biodiversity characteristics of ditches, lakes, ponds, rivers and streams in five locations in Europe in three biogeographic zones. At the individual site level (alpha diversity), rivers were found to be the most species-rich waterbodies; however, at the regional level (gamma diversity), ponds were the most species-rich aquatic habitat for both wetland plants and macroinvertebrates. In terms of rare species, ponds also had a higher rarity value, measured by a Species Rarity Index, than other habitat types, although data for this analysis were only available from the United Kingdom. The high biodiversity values of ponds suggest that they should be more central to strategies for the protection and management of aquatic biodiversity.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1016/j.agee.2007.10.006
ISSNs: 0167-8809 (print)
Keywords: freshwater, waterbody, farming, aquatic biota, small waterbodies, pond
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Geography > Environmental Processes and Change
ePrint ID: 57889
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
May 2008Published
3 December 2007Made publicly available
Date Deposited: 18 Aug 2008
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 12:39

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