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Sci Total Environ. 2017 Dec 1;601-602:1702-1711. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.05.264. Epub 2017 Jun 10.

Relative roles of spatial processes, natural factors and anthropogenic stressors in structuring a lake macroinvertebrate metacommunity.

Author information

1
Key Laboratory of Watershed Geographic Sciences, Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 73 East Beijing Road, Nanjing 210008, China.
2
Finnish Environment Institute, Natural Environment Centre, Paavo Havaksen Tie 3, FI-90570 Oulu, Finland.
3
Finnish Environment Institute, Natural Environment Centre, Paavo Havaksen Tie 3, FI-90570 Oulu, Finland; Department of Biological and Environmental Science, University of Jyväskylä, P.O. Box 35, FI-40014 Jyväskylä, Finland.
4
Key Laboratory of Watershed Geographic Sciences, Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 73 East Beijing Road, Nanjing 210008, China. Electronic address: zjgong@niglas.ac.cn.

Abstract

Studies of aquatic metacommunities have so far been focused almost entirely on relatively isolated systems, such as a set of streams, lakes or ponds. Here, we aimed to quantify the relative importance of spatial processes, natural factors and anthropogenic stressors in structuring of a macroinvertebrate metacommunity within a large, highly-connected shallow lake system. The roles of different drivers were evaluated for the entire metacommunity, 10 trait-based deconstructed metacommunities and four common species by incorporating extensive sampling and a large number of abiotic explanatory variables. Contrary to our expectations, we found that variation in community structure among sites was mostly correlated to spatial and wind-wave variables rather than anthropogenic disturbance factors even though the lake presented strong environmental gradients associated with long-term human pressures. In addition, the relative importance of the three groups of drivers varied slightly among the deconstructed trait matrices (i.e. based on dispersal ability, feeding mode and degree of occurrence). Importantly, the distributions of the most common species showed significant and strong spatial autocorrelation, indicating the prominent role of high dispersal rate for their distributions. These findings suggest that the influences of high dispersal rates and natural disturbance may even override the roles of anthropogenic stressors in metacommunity organization in highly-connected aquatic systems. Hence, we strongly encourage that spatial processes and natural drivers are taken into account in the development of bioassessment approaches in highly-connected aquatic systems.

KEYWORDS:

Benthic macroinvertebrates; Community deconstruction; Dispersal; Shallow lakes; Species sorting; Traits

PMID:
28618660
DOI:
10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.05.264
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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