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Macroinvertebrate assemblages and biodiversity levels: ecological role of constructed wetlands and artificial ponds in a natural park

Laura Sartori, Sergio Canobbio, Riccardo Cabrini, Riccardo Fornaroli, Valeria Mezzanotte
  • Sergio Canobbio
    University of Milano Bicocca, Italy
  • Riccardo Cabrini
    University of Milano Bicocca, Italy
  • Riccardo Fornaroli
    University of Milano Bicocca, Italy
  • Valeria Mezzanotte
    University of Milano Bicocca, Italy


Constructed wetlands play an important role in water supply, floodwater retention and nutrient removal, at the same time allowing the restoration of lost habitat and the preservation of biodiversity. There is little knowledge about the biodiversity that can be found in these artificial environments along time, especially at the invertebrate community level. Macroinvertebrate assemblages, water chemistry, morphology, and environmental characteristics of natural ponds, artificial pools and constructed wetlands in Parco Pineta (Northern Italy) were studied to evaluate the effects of local factors on macroinvertebrate communities. The objective was to verify if each ecosystem could equally contribute to local biodiversity, regardless of its natural or artificial origin. Principal Components Analysis showed that ponds were divided into clusters, based on their morphology and their water quality, independently from their origin. The composition of macroinvertebrate communities was similar among natural wetlands and ponds artificially created to provide new habitats in the park, while it was different among natural wetlands and constructed wetlands created for wastewater treatment purposes. Biodiversity of natural ponds and constructed wetlands, evaluated using taxa richness, Shannon index, and Pielou index, was comparable. Canonical Correspondence Analysis highlighted differences in macroinvertebrate community composition and pointed out the relationships among macroinvertebrates and various environmental variables: habitat heterogeneity resulted as the most relevant factor that influences taxa richness. Water quality also affects the macroinvertebrate community structure. We determined that constructed wetlands with higher pollutant concentrations show different assemblage compositions but comparable overall macroinvertebrate biodiversity. Constructed wetlands became valuable ecological elements in the area almost immediately, due to fast colonizing invertebrates. However, we also assume that differences in macroinvertebrate assemblage compositions among wetlands with different origins lead to differences in the functionality of each ecosystem.


Freshwater macroinvertebrates; habitat heterogeneity; macroinvertebrate community composition; natural wetlands; constructed wetlands., taxonomic diversity

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Submitted: 2014-05-16 16:25:26
Published: 2014-11-27 14:14:28
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Copyright (c) 2014 Laura Sartori, Sergio Canobbio, Riccardo Cabrini, Riccardo Fornaroli, Valeria Mezzanotte

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