Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

Anthropogenic refuges for freshwater biodiversity: Their ecological characteristics and management

Chester, E.T. and Robson, B.J. (2013) Anthropogenic refuges for freshwater biodiversity: Their ecological characteristics and management. Biological Conservation, 166 . pp. 64-75.

Link to Published Version:
*Subscription may be required


We reviewed literature describing the potential for freshwater anthropogenic waterbodies to act as refuges from disturbance. We identified research related to the refuge potential of a wide range of waterbodies, using waterbody names as keywords along with 'artificial' and 'freshwater'. Potential freshwater anthropogenic refuges were more often standing than running waters. Agricultural ponds, rural and urban drainage ditches and transport canals were the most diverse for all aquatic taxa, whereas irrigation infrastructure was least diverse. Comparatively little is known about the refuge role of fire dams, urban artificial ponds, golf course lakes, disused industrial ponds and retaining walls. Local-scale attributes associated with high biodiversity were: presence of macrophytes (for animals), absence of fish (for amphibians, invertebrates), natural bed materials and hydroperiod (all biota). Landscape variables associated with high biodiversity were proximity to and connectivity with other waterbodies and to natural terrestrial vegetation. Moderate levels of management intervention were also associated with higher biodiversity. Many knowledge gaps about the function of anthropogenic refuges within landscapes exist and require further research. One of the most important limitations to the provision of refuges for freshwater biodiversity by anthropogenic waterbodies is the lack of recognition of their actual or potential biodiversity value. Anthropogenic waterbodies need to be recognised for their potential to support biodiversity conservation and climate change adaptation for freshwater species, while being managed to prevent the spread of invasive species.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
Item Control Page Item Control Page