An assessment of macrophyte community metrics in the determination of the ecological condition and total phosphorus concentration of Mediterranean ponds
"The macrophyte vegetation of 51 ponds situated in the Duero river basin on the Northern Iberian Plateau was studied with the aim of selecting metrics that responded clearly to perturbation and that should be included in a multimetric index for assessing the ecological condition (expression of the quality of the structure and functioning of aquatic ecosystems associated with surface waters) of Mediterranean ponds. Furthermore, the specific response of metrics to the total phosphorus concentration was also investigated because of agricultural activities, which usually increase the concentration of nutrients in aquatic systems, are one of the principal types of impairment affecting ponds in the Duero basin. A total of 19 metrics representing several aspects of the structure of macrophyte communities (cover, richness, diversity) were selected as potential metrics. The strong overlap which was observed for macrophyte metrics between classes of ecological conditions (bad, poor, moderate, good, best available) and TP concentrations (>600, 600–300, 300–100, 100–50, <50 mg L!1 TP) constitutes a major problem in defining and separating these classes. For this reason, Mann–Whitney U-test and discrimination efficiency were carried out to determine which of the measures best discriminated between slightly impaired sites (ponds in good or best available condition) and perturbed ponds (ponds inmoderate, poor or bad condition). Most of the metrics showed significant differences between slightly impaired and perturbed ponds. However, only total cover and hydrophyte richness, which had the highest discrimination efficiency, showed no inter-quartile overlap (25th–75th percentile) between the two ecological classes. For these reasons, both total cover and hydrophyte richness were selected for the implementation of a multimetric index able to discriminate between slightly impaired and degraded Mediterranean flatland ponds. Currently, eutrophication is considered the main pressure on lakes. However, macrophyte metrics were far less sensitive to TP concentration than to ecological condition changes. This shows that other pressures are also of considerable importance. Thus, the definition of the ecological condition of lakes using macrophytes should not be based only on responses to eutrophication pressure, as has been done in some European countries"
Auteurs du document :
DEL POZO R., FERNANDEZ-ALAEZ C., FERNANDEZ-ALAEZ M.
Obtenir le document :
Department of Biodiversity and Environmental Management, Faculty of Biology and Environmental Sciences, University of Leon