The Royal Society

Supplementary material from "Weak effect of urbanisation on bdelloid rotifers living in lichens"

Posted on 2024-04-02 - 13:50
Human activities have an overwhelming impact on the natural environment, leading to a deep biodiversity crisis whose effects range from genes to ecosystems. We here analysed the effect of such anthropogenic impacts on bdelloid rotifers (Rotifera Bdelloidea), for whom these effects are poorly understood. We targeted bdelloid rotifers living in lichen patches across urbanisation gradients in Flanders and Brussels (Belgium). Urbanisation was measured as the percentage of built-up area across different spatial scales, at circles from 50 m to 3,200 m of radius around the lichen. Urbanisation effects on biodiversity were assessed on abundance, species richness, and community-weighted mean body size of bdelloid rotifers, as well as on genetic diversity of one of the most common and widespread bdelloid species, Adineta vaga. Overall, no negative effect of urbanisation was found at any diversity level and at any spatial scale. Counterintuitively, built-up area quantified at the largest spatial scale had a positive effect on abundance. These results leave open the question of whether negative effects of urbanisation are present for bdelloid rotifers, or if such effects are only visible at even larger spatial scales.


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Karine Van Doninck
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