The temporal dynamics of temporary pond macroinvertebrate communities over a 10-year period

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Ponds support a rich biodiversity. This arises in part because of the number and heterogeneity of ponds spatially throughout the landscape. Studies of ponds suggest that distinct communities develop within individual ponds but most examples are based on shortterm 1- or 2-year surveys which cannot identify the effects of historic events upon contemporary communities. This study reports the development and turnover of the early summer macroinvertebrate communities in thirty small temporary ponds fromtheir creation in 1994 over 10 years to 2004. Distinct pioneer communities established in the first year of the ponds’ creation, the first 3 years dominated by a fauna associated with long summer dry phases. Then a sustained period of inundation lasting 27 months from summer 1997–1999 resulted in establishment of many taxa associated with permanent ponds and loss of some temporary pond species. The re-establishment of summer dry phases in 1999 was associated with the loss of some but not all of the permanent water taxa and re-colonisation by some temporary water species creating new communities combining these different elements. The communities were not a linear successional sequence; the communities that re-assembled following resumption of dry phases reflected the contingent history of each pond and the effects of historic events. The longer term nature of the study showed that the characteristic heterogeneity of pond invertebrate communities occurs through time as well as spatially and that the richness and variety of contemporary communities, which is often hard to explain fromsnap-shot studies, is partly the result of historic events.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-405
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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