It is hypothesized that biodiversity is maintained by interactions at local and regional spatial scales. Widespread anthropogenic modification of the landscape modifies the same local and regional processes known to play a role in shaping biodiversity patterns in natural environments. Often sustainability plans and management practices reflect the need to conserve biodiversity, yet once these plans are implemented, the ecological impacts 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 impacts of our management choices. Therefore, our objective was to determine how spatial variation in habitat heterogeneity from management practices and the interaction of dispersal act to shape biodiversity at local and regional spatial scales. A twelve-week mesocosm study was conducted where pond management, dispersal, and regional pool composition were manipulated to determine how spatial variation in habitat and 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.
The goal of this work was to determine how the interaction between spatial variation in habitat heterogeneity in algal management of urban stormwater ponds and dispersal shape biodiversity patterns at local and regional spatial scales. To address the hypothesis that source pool constraints will lead to local community divergence, we found that zooplankton dispersal from managed or unmanaged source pools was marginally important to explaining community composition. To address the hypothesis that local environmental variables, specifically algal management in urban stormwater ponds, will shift community composition and patterns of beta biodiversity, we found that local management of algae significantly reduced compositional turnover of zooplankton among ponds, but did not lead to significant shifts in community composition. The results of this study suggest that sustainability and management plans may have complex, adverse effects on biodiversity both within and across local habitats.