A recent challenge in community ecology is to understand under what conditions local and regional processes may be more important in shaping community structure. We investigated the role of dispersal mode and generation time for communities of macroinvertebrates in two sets of connected ponds during three consecutive years. We found no evidence that generation time affected metacommunity structure, possibly because statistical power was limited because the range of generation times present was small. In contrast, we found that the spatial structure of the macroinvertebrate metacommunities differed with dispersal mode in one of two sets of ponds. Passive dispersers showed positive distance-dissimilarity correlations, suggesting mass effects via the pond connections. These correlations did not stretch beyond the first pond downstream suggesting that, in this chain of connected ponds, intervening ponds effectively buffered dispersal. Active dispersers did not show any consistent spatial pattern, possibly because intensive over-land dispersal homogenized the metacommunity. Thus, although pond connections probably equally promoted dispersal of actively and passively dispersing macroinvertebrates, the implications for the structure of their metacommunities may depend on their dispersal mode. We conclude that dispersal mode has the potential to affect the mechanisms that are integral to metacommunity structure.