- The role of emergent vegetation in structuring aquatic insect communities in peatland drainage ditches
- Aquatic Ecology
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
Availability of macrophyte habitat is recognized as an important driver of aquatic insect communities in peatland drainage ditches; however, eutrophication can lead to the decline of submerged vegetation. While emergent vegetation is able to persist in eutrophicated ditches, vegetation removal, carried out during ditch maintenance, can reduce the availability of this habitat. In this study, we applied the landscape filtering approach to determine whether the absence of emergent vegetation is a habitat filter which structures aquatic insect communities in peatland drainage ditches under different trophic conditions. To this end, a field study was carried out in one mesotrophic (Naardermeer) and one eutrophic (Wormer and Jisperveld) peatland in the province of North Holland, The Netherlands. We assigned life history strategies to insect species and applied linear mixed models and redundancy analyses to taxonomic and functional aquatic insect community data. Our results indicate that while differences between peatlands primarily determine the species pool within each wetland, emergent vegetation acted as a secondary filter by structuring functional community composition within ditches. The eutrophic peatland was dominated by insects adapted to abiotic extremes, while species with good dispersal abilities were strongly related to emergent vegetation cover. This study demonstrates the applicability of life history strategies to provide insight into the filtering of species due to availability of emergent macrophyte habitat. To ensure greater diversity of insect communities in ditch habitats, it is recommended that some vegetation be spared during maintenance to leave patches from which insect recolonization can occur.
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