Effects of Environmental Variables on Four Aquatic Insect Taxa among Smaller Water Bodies of Different Ages on Farmland; A Pilot Study

University essay from Högskolan i Halmstad/Bio- och miljösystemforskning (BLESS)

Abstract: High anthropogenic modification like infrastructural development, drainage, eutrophication, dumping garbage, is a threat to biodiversity of smaller water bodies in agricultural landscapes. However, smaller water bodies have historically been constructed for drainage, waste treatment and other purposes. Further, new small water bodies are now being constructed in agricultural areas in Sweden, mainly to remove nutrients and to improve landscape biodiversity. This creates two different age classes (old and new) of smaller water body habitats. I sampled aquatic insects in 27 smaller water bodies of varying types and ages in Halmstad region and related insect biodiversity, species richness, composition structure to environmental variables. I partitioned the region into two locations (Northern and Southern) for easy data comparison and due to difference in topography. The data was analysed using a Canonical Correspondence (CCA) and regression analysis. The CCA results show a difference in the species composition between old and new sites. The most important variables in explaining species assemblage structure was age of the aquatic water bodies. The species richness decreased with increase in nutrient concentration (total phosphorus) according to regression analysis. Species composition and diversity were related to Vegetation and tree cover in and around the water body. The results of my study shows that the older the water bodies the better for specific species like Aeshna cyanea and the new water bodies tolerate more specimens. My results suggest that, as there is need to facilitate plant growing, protecting vegetation and trees to better mimic natural conditions of water bodies, creating new water bodies while protecting aged water bodies is important for conservation of biodiversity.

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