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Distribution of selected macroinvertebrates in a mosaic of temporary and permanent freshwater ponds as explained by autologistic models


  • R. A. Sanderson,

  • M. D. Eyre,

  • S. P. Rushton

R. A. Sanderson (, M. D. Eyre and S. P. Rushton, Inst. for Research in Environment and Sustainability, Devonshire Bldg, Univ. of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK NE1 7RU.


We investigated the aquatic macroinvertebrate fauna of 76 ponds and small pools in an urban fringe landscape, and related the presence of ten species to measures of water permanence, pond area and environmental conditions using logistic models. The incidence of all the species was strongly associated with variation in hydroperiod, but patterns were more variable with the other explanatory variables. To determine whether the presence of a species at neighbouring ponds increased its probability of occurance at a pond we constructed a series of autologistic models, that differed from the aspatial logistic model in that they included a spatial autocovariate in the predictor terms. The improvement of model fit on inclusion of this autocovariate, measured as the decline in deviance compared to the aspatial models, was determined across a range of lag distances. In seven of the ten species, the autologistic models explained the incidence of the species amongst the ponds better than the aspatial models. Spatial effects were typically over short distances (<200 m) before declining, but in two species appeared to reach an asymptote, and we propose that variation in dispersal ability is the most likely factor producing these spatial effects. We conclude that it is essential that some measure of spatial autocorrelation is considered when evaluating the distribution of aquatic macroinvertebrates at small or medium scales.