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Homogeneity in terrestrial land cover is reflected in fish diversity patterns in a Chinese river system


Kirschner, Dominik; Zhang, Yan; Zhong, Wenjun; Zhang, Xiaowei; Pellissier, Loïc; Altermatt, Florian (2023). Homogeneity in terrestrial land cover is reflected in fish diversity patterns in a Chinese river system. Environmental DNA, 5(6):1679-1690.

Abstract

In river systems worldwide, land cover changes have been identified as major drivers of biodiversity change. Quantifying how terrestrial land cover impacts riverine diversity requires local biodiversity assessments. In this study, we investigated the association of terrestrial land cover and the corresponding riverine fish species communities using eDNA‐metabarcoding in the Chinese Shaying River basin. This basin is home to about 37 million people and is largely dominated by a mix of intense agriculture and urban areas, creating a relatively homogeneous, intensely used landscape. We investigated whether the homogeneous landscape is mirrored in the composition and structure of fish communities in the river network. We sampled eDNA in spring and fall of 2018, amplified it with a primer designed for local fish species and used operational taxonomic units (OTU) assigned to fish as proxy for diversity. Furthermore, we used redundancy analysis, general linear models, and distance decay curves to assess the effects of land cover on fish communities. We found that the Shaying River showed relatively high basin‐wide richness (63 OTU) and seasonal differences in local richness, but limited community differentiation. Variations in alpha‐ and beta‐diversity, measured as local OTU richness and pairwise distance‐decay across the basin were low. Redundancy analysis showed only a weak association between observed aquatic communities and their terrestrial surroundings in a 10 km buffer upstream. The lack of community differentiation assessed by eDNA metabarcoding reflects the homogeneous and intense land‐use in this basin.

Abstract

In river systems worldwide, land cover changes have been identified as major drivers of biodiversity change. Quantifying how terrestrial land cover impacts riverine diversity requires local biodiversity assessments. In this study, we investigated the association of terrestrial land cover and the corresponding riverine fish species communities using eDNA‐metabarcoding in the Chinese Shaying River basin. This basin is home to about 37 million people and is largely dominated by a mix of intense agriculture and urban areas, creating a relatively homogeneous, intensely used landscape. We investigated whether the homogeneous landscape is mirrored in the composition and structure of fish communities in the river network. We sampled eDNA in spring and fall of 2018, amplified it with a primer designed for local fish species and used operational taxonomic units (OTU) assigned to fish as proxy for diversity. Furthermore, we used redundancy analysis, general linear models, and distance decay curves to assess the effects of land cover on fish communities. We found that the Shaying River showed relatively high basin‐wide richness (63 OTU) and seasonal differences in local richness, but limited community differentiation. Variations in alpha‐ and beta‐diversity, measured as local OTU richness and pairwise distance‐decay across the basin were low. Redundancy analysis showed only a weak association between observed aquatic communities and their terrestrial surroundings in a 10 km buffer upstream. The lack of community differentiation assessed by eDNA metabarcoding reflects the homogeneous and intense land‐use in this basin.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, not_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)
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Physical Sciences > Ecology
Life Sciences > Genetics
Uncontrolled Keywords:Genetics, Ecology, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Language:English
Date:20 November 2023
Deposited On:15 Jan 2024 09:48
Last Modified:28 Jun 2024 03:40
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:2637-4943
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/edn3.480
Official URL:https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/edn3.480
Project Information:
  • : FunderETH research commission
  • : Grant IDProjekt "BECCY"
  • : Project Title
  • : FunderUniversität Zürich
  • : Grant IDURPP-Global Change & Biodiversity
  • : 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
  • : FunderSchweiz. Nationalfonds
  • : Grant ID31003A_173074
  • : Project TitleRiverDNA: uncovering fundamental biodiversity in riverine systems using environmental DNA
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)