Environmental versus source pool constraints on an urban zooplankton metacommunity
It is hypothesized that biodiversity is maintained by interactions at local and regional spatial scales. Many sustainability plans and management practices reflect the need to conserve biodiversity, yet once these plans are implemented, the ecological consequences are not well known. By understanding how management practices affect local environmental factors and dispersal in a region, ecologists and natural resource managers can gain a better understanding of the implications for management choices. Our goal was to determine how spatial variation in habitat heterogeneity ofan algal management practice in stormwater detention ponds interacted with dispersal to shape biodiversity at local and regional spatial scales. A twelve-week mesocosm study was conducted where pond management and dispersal were manipulated to determine how spatial variation in habitat and source pool constraints on dispersal influence zooplankton metacommunities in urban stormwater ponds. We hypothesized that dispersal from managed or unmanaged source pools will lead to community divergence and local management practices will act as an environmental filter, reducing beta diversity between managed ponds.
Ours results revealed that zooplankton dispersal from managed or unmanaged source pools was marginally significant in explaining patters in zooplankton community composition. We also learned that local management significantly reduced compositional turnover of zooplankton among ponds. Management practices may act as an environmental filter by reducing beta diversity between ponds. As hypothesized, the source pool of dispersers led to community divergence and local management practices resulted in reduced compositional turnover between ponds. The results of this study suggest that sustainability and management plans may have complex, deleterious effects on biodiversity both within and across local habitats.