The effect of urbanization on freshwater macroinvertebrates – Knowledge gaps and future research directions

Blanka Gál, Ildikó Szivák, Jani Heino, D. Schmera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Understanding the effects of urbanization on the diversity of freshwater macroinvertebrates is an important topic of biodiversity research and has direct conservation relevance. The absence of evidence-based systematic overviews on this topic motivated us to perform meta-analyses and to synthetize the present state of knowledge. We observed significant heterogeneity among individual case studies, reporting negative, neutral and positive effects. As expected, urbanization had an overall negative effect on the diversity of freshwater macroinvertebrates. These results are based mainly on the study of lotic (stream and river) ecosystems because there are insufficient data available for lentic (pond and lake) ecosystems. Compared to individual case studies, the present review reports an evidence-based synthesis for the first time. We identified knowledge gaps regarding case studies reporting the effects of urbanization on pond and lake ecosystems, case studies examining the phylogenetic and functional facets of biodiversity, as well case studies investigating the effect of urbanization on the beta diversity component of macroinvertebrate communities. The identification of these knowledge gaps allowed us to make recommendations for future research: (1) report results on specific taxonomic groups and not only the entire macroinvertebrate community, (2) study the impacts of urbanization on macroinvertebrate diversity in different habitat types and understudied continents, (3) focus on the functional and phylogenetic facets of diversity and (4) examine community differentiation (e.g. beta diversity) in urban freshwater ecosystems. Our results also suggested that the analysis of diversity- environment relationships is crucial for developing macroinvertebrate indicators especially in the increasingly urbanized world.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-364
Number of pages8
JournalEcological Indicators
Volume104
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2019

Keywords

  • Aquatic invertebrates
  • Biodiversity
  • Effect of urbanization
  • Freshwater ecosystems
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Decision Sciences(all)
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology

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