Direct and indirect impacts of wildfire on faunal communities of Mediterranean temporary ponds

Cunillera-Montcusí et al. (2019) – Freshwater Biology, 64:323–334.

Taking advantage of a wildfire that partially affected a Mediterranean temporary pond network, we analysed wildfire impacts on faunal communities adapted to temporality by comparing the environmental and the faunal community responses from before and after the wildfire, and between the burned and unburned ponds during the subsequent hydroperiod. We focused on species traits related to expected indirect and direct impacts (i.e. dispersal ability, life history or feeding habits). We found changes in abundances of some trophic groups from before and after the wildfire, strong fluctuations at the beginning of the hydroperiod between burned and unburned ponds as well as a decrease in abundance of organisms that remain in the pond sediment during drought in burned ponds. However, only one hydroperiod appears to be sufficient for burned ponds to recover their similarity to unburned ponds, which highlights the high resilience of these communities.

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