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

  • Laura Sartori | University of Milano Bicocca, Italy.
  • 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.



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Author Biography

Laura Sartori, University of Milano Bicocca
Dipartimento di Scienze dell'Ambiente e del Territorio e di Scienze della Terra
Original Articles
Supporting Agencies
Regional Park “Parco Pineta di Appiano Gentile e Tradate”
Freshwater macroinvertebrates, habitat heterogeneity, macroinvertebrate community composition, natural wetlands, constructed wetlands., taxonomic diversity
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How to Cite
Sartori L, Canobbio S, Cabrini R, Fornaroli R, Mezzanotte V. Macroinvertebrate assemblages and biodiversity levels: ecological role of constructed wetlands and artificial ponds in a natural park. J Limnol [Internet]. 2014Nov.27 [cited 2021May7];74(2). Available from: