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Regulation of the functional structure of aquatic communities across spatial scales in a major river network


Harvey, Eric; Altermatt, Florian (2019). Regulation of the functional structure of aquatic communities across spatial scales in a major river network. Ecology, 100(4):e02633.

Abstract

Moving beyond species count data is an essential step to better understand the effects of environmental perturbations on biodiversity and ecosystem functions, and to eventually better predict the strength and direction of those effects. Here, coupling an integrative path analysis approach with data from an extensive countrywide monitoring program, we tested the main spatial, environmental and anthropogenic drivers of change in the functional structure of aquatic macroinvertebrate communities along the entire Swiss Rhine river catchment. Functional structure was largely driven by inherent altitudinal variation influencing and cascading to regional scaled factors such as land use change and position in the riverine network, which, in turn, transformed local habitat structure variables. Those cascading effects across scales propagated through the biotic community, first affecting prey and, in turn, predators. Our results illustrate how seemingly less important local factors can act as essential transmission belts, propagating through direct and indirect pathways across scales to generate the specific context in which each functional group will strive or not, leading to characteristic landscape wide variations in functional community structure.

Abstract

Moving beyond species count data is an essential step to better understand the effects of environmental perturbations on biodiversity and ecosystem functions, and to eventually better predict the strength and direction of those effects. Here, coupling an integrative path analysis approach with data from an extensive countrywide monitoring program, we tested the main spatial, environmental and anthropogenic drivers of change in the functional structure of aquatic macroinvertebrate communities along the entire Swiss Rhine river catchment. Functional structure was largely driven by inherent altitudinal variation influencing and cascading to regional scaled factors such as land use change and position in the riverine network, which, in turn, transformed local habitat structure variables. Those cascading effects across scales propagated through the biotic community, first affecting prey and, in turn, predators. Our results illustrate how seemingly less important local factors can act as essential transmission belts, propagating through direct and indirect pathways across scales to generate the specific context in which each functional group will strive or not, leading to characteristic landscape wide variations in functional community structure.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Uncontrolled Keywords:altitude; aquatic biodiversity; indirect effects; land use change; macroinvertebrates; meta-community; path analysis; Rhine River, Switzerland; river network; riverscape; trophic structure.
Language:English
Date:1 April 2019
Deposited On:26 Jul 2019 14:45
Last Modified:30 Jan 2020 01:00
Publisher:Ecological Society of America
ISSN:0012-9658
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/ecy.2633
Official URL:https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ecy.2633
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant IDPP00P3_150698
  • : Project TitleBridging biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in dendritic networks: a meta-ecosystem perspective
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant IDPP00P3_179089
  • : Project TitleBridging biodiversity and ecosystem functioning: a meta-ecosystem perspective
  • : FunderUniversity of Zurich Priority Pro- gram (URPP) on Global Change and Biodiversity
  • : Grant IDU-704-04-15
  • : Project TitleToward a better integration of evolution and community ecology
  • : Project Websitehttps://www.gcb.uzh.ch/en/Research/Phase-II-Projects/Landscapes/Project-2-Florian-Altermatt.html
  • : FunderUniversity of Zurich Forschungskredi
  • : Grant IDFK-16-099
  • : Project TitleBridging gaps for improved biodiversity conservation: ecological networks from a meta-community perspective

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