Indicator taxa for the conservation of pond invertebrate diversity

Robert A. Briers, Jeremy Biggs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


1. Ponds are a valuable resource for the conservation of freshwater biodiversity, but are often extremely numerous in a given area, making assessment of the conservation value of individual sites potentially time consuming. 2. The use of indicator taxa, the species richness of which is representative of total site species richness, may provide one way to improve the efficiency of survey work. However, such indicators are poorly developed for freshwater systems. 3. A data set was used describing the occurrence of macroinvertebrate taxa in ponds in Oxfordshire, UK, to assess the extent to which variation in the species richness of selected taxa most consistently represented variation in all other taxa. 4. Coenagriidae (Odonata) and Limnephilidae (Trichoptera) reflected the variation in species richness of other taxa most consistently, with Coenagriidae showing the best overall performance as an indicator taxon. 5. For both suggested indicator taxa, selection of sites based solely on the presence of at least one species of indicator would represent over 95% of all species recorded across all sites. 6. Further investigation in different geographical regions is necessary to establish whether these relationships are consistent over a wider area.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-330
Number of pages8
JournalAquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems
Issue number4
Early online date06 Mar 2003
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jul 2003


  • indicator taxa
  • pond conservation
  • macroinvertebrates
  • Coenagriidae


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