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Effect of drainage ditches on Brachycera (Diptera) diversity in a southern Quebec peatland

  • Amélie Grégoire Taillefer (a1) and Terry A. Wheeler (a1)

Canadian peatlands are subject to disturbance and destruction, and drainage for agriculture is responsible for 85% of this degradation. Few studies have explicitly addressed the effects of habitat degradation on arthropod diversity in Nearctic peatlands. Because higher Diptera (Brachycera) in peatlands are diverse, are an important component of food webs, and exhibit a wide range of ecological requirements, we examined species richness, abundance, and community composition of Brachycera across transects at 1, 6, and 11 m from a collector drainage ditch in Johnville Bog and Forest Park, Quebec. In total, 1453 Brachycera were collected, representing 24 families and 166 species. Species diversity (based on Simpson’s diversity index) and rarefaction-estimated species richness were higher at 6 and 11 m than at 1 m from the ditch, probably because of the homogeneous moss cover and moister conditions at greater distance from the ditch. Species composition also differed between 1 m and other distances, based on cluster analysis, multiresponse permutation procedures analysis, and the presence of five predaceous species that were significant indicator species 1 m from the drainage ditch. Our results suggest that anthropogenic degradation of hydrological conditions may be responsible for the low species richness and high dominance of a few species currently seen at the ditch margin.


Les tourbières canadiennes sont sujettes aux perturbations et à la destruction, et le drainage pour l'agriculture est responsable de 85 % de cette dégradation. Parce que les brachycères des tourbières sont diversifiés, constituent une importante proportion de des réseaux trophiques, et exige une multitude de différents habitats; la richesse en espèces, l'abondance et la composition en espèces ont été déterminées le long de transects perpendiculaires à un canal de drainage à 1, 6 et 11 m dans le Parc Écoforestier de Johnville, Québec. Un total de 1453 brachycères a été récolté représentant 24 familles et 166 espèces. La diversité (indices Simpson) et la richesse en espèces estimée (raréfaction) étaient plus élevées à 6 et 11 m qu’à 1 m; cela est probablement dû au couvert de mousse homogène et aux conditions plus humides à une plus grande distance du canal. La composition en espèces différait aussi entre 1 m et les autres distances, basé sur l'analyse par regroupements, MRPP, et les cinq espèces significativement associées (espèces indicatrices) à 1 m du canal de drainage. Ces résultats suggèrent que les perturbations anthropiques des conditions hydrologiques sont responsables de la faible richesse en espèces et de la dominance élevée de quelques espèces aux abords du canal de drainage.

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The Canadian Entomologist
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