Browsing by Subject "BETA-DIVERSITY"

Sort by: Order: Results:

Now showing items 1-20 of 24
  • Heino, Jani; Soininen, Janne; Alahuhta, Janne; Lappalainen, Jyrki; Virtanen, Risto (2015)
    Most metacommunity studies have taken a direct mechanistic approach, aiming to model the effects of local and regional processes on local communities within a metacommunity. An alternative approach is to focus on emergent patterns at the metacommunity level through applying the elements of metacommunity structure (EMS; Oikos, 97, 2002, 237) analysis. The EMS approach has very rarely been applied in the context of a comparative analysis of metacommunity types of main microbial, plant, and animal groups. Furthermore, to our knowledge, no study has associated metacommunity types with their potential ecological correlates in the freshwater realm. We assembled data for 45 freshwater metacommunities, incorporating biologically highly disparate organismal groups (i.e., bacteria, algae, macrophytes, invertebrates, and fish). We first examined ecological correlates (e.g., matrix properties, beta diversity, and average characteristics of a metacommunity, including body size, trophic group, ecosystem type, life form, and dispersal mode) of the three elements of metacommunity structure (i.e., coherence, turnover, and boundary clumping). Second, based on those three elements, we determined which metacommunity types prevailed in freshwater systems and which ecological correlates best discriminated among the observed metacommunity types. We found that the three elements of metacommunity structure were not strongly related to the ecological correlates, except that turnover was positively related to beta diversity. We observed six metacommunity types. The most common were Clementsian and quasi-nested metacommunity types, whereas Random, quasi-Clementsian, Gleasonian, and quasi-Gleasonian types were less common. These six metacommunity types were best discriminated by beta diversity and the first axis of metacommunity ecological traits, ranging from metacommunities of producer organisms occurring in streams to those of large predatory organisms occurring in lakes. Our results showed that focusing on the emergent properties of multiple metacommunities provides information additional to that obtained in studies examining variation in local community structure within a metacommunity.
  • Langenheder, Silke; Wang, Jianjun; Karjalainen, Satu Maaria; Laamanen, Tiina M.; Tolonen, Kimmo T.; Vilmi, Annika; Heino, Jani (2017)
    The spatial structure and underlying assembly mechanisms of bacterial communities have been studied widely across aquatic systems, focusing primarily on isolated sites, such as different lakes, ponds and streams. Here, our main aim was to determine the underlying mechanisms for bacterial biofilm assembly within a large, highly connected lake system in Northern Finland using associative methods based on taxonomic and phylogenetic alpha-and beta-diversity and a large number of abiotic and biotic variables. Furthermore, null model approaches were used to quantify the relative importance of different community assembly processes. We found that spatial variation in bacterial communities within the lake was structured by different assembly processes, including stochasticity, species sorting and potentially even dispersal limitation. Species sorting by abiotic environmental conditions explained more of the taxonomic and particularly phylogenetic turnover in community composition compared with that by biotic variables. Finally, we observed clear differences in alpha diversity (species richness and phylogenetic diversity), which were to a stronger extent determined by abiotic compared with biotic factors, but also by dispersal effects. In summary, our study shows that the biodiversity of bacterial biofilm communities within a lake ecosystem is driven by within-habitat gradients in abiotic conditions and by stochastic and deterministic dispersal processes.
  • Andersen, Line Holm; Nummi, Petri; Rafn, Jeppe; Frederiksen, Cecilie Majgaard Skak; Kristjansen, Mads Prengel; Lauridsen, Torben Linding; Trojelsgaard, Kristian; Pertoldi, Cino; Bruhn, Dan; Bahrndorff, Simon (2021)
    The succession-driven reed bed habitat hosts a unique flora and fauna including several endangered invertebrate species. Reed beds can be managed through commercial winter harvest, with implications for reed bed conservation. However, the effects of winter harvest on the invertebrate community are not well understood and vary across studies and taxonomic levels. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of reed harvest on invertebrate communities. Ground-dwelling and aerial invertebrates were continuously sampled for 10 weeks in the largest coherent reed bed of Scandinavia in order to assess how time since last reed harvest (0, 3, and 25years) influences invertebrate biomass, biodiversity and community structure across taxonomic levels. Biomass was measured and all specimens were sorted to order level, and Coleoptera was even sorted to species level. The invertebrate community showed distinct compositional differences across the three reed bed ages. Furthermore, biomass of both aerial and ground-dwelling invertebrates was highest in the age-0 reed bed and lowest in the age-25 reed bed. Generally, biodiversity showed an opposite trend with the highest richness and diversity in the age-25 reed bed. We conclude that it is possible to ensure high insect biomass and diversity by creating a mosaic of reed bed of different ages through small-scale harvest in the largest coherent reed bed in Scandinavia. The youngest red beds support a high invertebrate biomass whereas the oldest reed beds support a high biodiversity. Collectively, this elevate our understanding of reed harvest and the effects it has on the invertebrate communities, and might aid in future reed bed management and restoration.
  • Penny, Amelia; Hints, Olle; Kröger, Björn (2022)
    The Ordovician-Silurian (similar to 485-419 Ma) was a time of considerable evolutionary upheaval, encompassing both great evolutionary diversification and one of the first major mass extinctions. The Ordovician diversification coincided with global climatic cooling and paleocontinental collision, the ecological impacts of which were mediated by region-specific processes including substrate changes, biotic invasions, and tectonic movements. From the Sandbian-Katian (similar to 453 Ma) onward, an extensive carbonate shelf developed in the eastern Baltic paleobasin in response to a tectonic shift to tropical latitudes and an increase in the abundance of calcareous macroorganisms. We quantify the contributions of environmental differentiation and temporal turnover to regional diversity through the Ordovician and Silurian, using brachiopod occurrences from the more shallow-water facies belts of the eastern Baltic paleobasin, an epicontinental sea on the Baltica paleocontinent. The results are consistent with carbonate shelf development as a driver of Ordovician regional diversification, both by enhancing broadscale differentiation between shallow- and deep-marine environments and by generating heterogeneous carbonate environments that allowed increasing numbers of brachiopod genera to coexist. However, temporal turnover also contributed significantly to apparent regional diversity, particularly in the Middle-Late Ordovician.
  • Picazo, Felix; Vilmi, Annika; Aalto, Juha; Soininen, Janne; Casamayor, Emilio O.; Liu, Yongqin; Wu, Qinglong; Ren, Lijuan; Zhou, Jizhong; Shen, Ji; Wang, Jianjun (2020)
    Background Understanding the large-scale patterns of microbial functional diversity is essential for anticipating climate change impacts on ecosystems worldwide. However, studies of functional biogeography remain scarce for microorganisms, especially in freshwater ecosystems. Here we study 15,289 functional genes of stream biofilm microbes along three elevational gradients in Norway, Spain and China. Results We find that alpha diversity declines towards high elevations and assemblage composition shows increasing turnover with greater elevational distances. These elevational patterns are highly consistent across mountains, kingdoms and functional categories and exhibit the strongest trends in China due to its largest environmental gradients. Across mountains, functional gene assemblages differ in alpha diversity and composition between the mountains in Europe and Asia. Climate, such as mean temperature of the warmest quarter or mean precipitation of the coldest quarter, is the best predictor of alpha diversity and assemblage composition at both mountain and continental scales, with local non-climatic predictors gaining more importance at mountain scale. Under future climate, we project substantial variations in alpha diversity and assemblage composition across the Eurasian river network, primarily occurring in northern and central regions, respectively. Conclusions We conclude that climate controls microbial functional gene diversity in streams at large spatial scales; therefore, the underlying ecosystem processes are highly sensitive to climate variations, especially at high latitudes. This biogeographical framework for microbial functional diversity serves as a baseline to anticipate ecosystem responses and biogeochemical feedback to ongoing climate change.
  • Siqueira, Tadeu; Saito, Victor S.; Bini, Luis M.; Melo, Adriano S.; Petsch, Danielle K.; Landeiro, Victor L.; Tolonen, Kimmo T.; Jyrkänkallio-Mikkola, Jenny; Soininen, Janne; Heino, Jani (2020)
    Ecological drift can override the effects of deterministic niche selection on small populations and drive the assembly of some ecological communities. We tested this hypothesis with a unique data set sampled identically in 200 streams in two regions (tropical Brazil and boreal Finland) that differ in macroinvertebrate community size by fivefold. Null models allowed us to estimate the magnitude to which beta-diversity deviates from the expectation under a random assembly process while taking differences in richness and relative abundance into account, i.e., beta-deviation. We found that both abundance- and incidence-based beta-diversity was negatively related to community size only in Brazil. Also, beta-diversity of small tropical communities was closer to stochastic expectations compared with beta-diversity of large communities. We suggest that ecological drift may drive variation in some small communities by changing the expected outcome of niche selection, increasing the chances of species with low abundance and narrow distribution to occur in some communities. Habitat destruction, overexploitation, pollution, and reductions in connectivity have been reducing the size of biological communities. These environmental pressures might make smaller communities more vulnerable to novel conditions and render community dynamics more unpredictable. Incorporation of community size into ecological models should provide conceptual and applied insights into a better understanding of the processes driving biodiversity.
  • Abrego, Nerea; Garcia-Baquero, Gonzalo; Halme, Panu; Ovaskainen, Otso; Salcedo, Isabel (2014)
  • Lucena-Moya, Paloma; Gascon, Stephanie; Boix, Daniel; Pardo, Isabel; Sala, Jordi; Quintana, Xavier D. (2017)
    The present study compared crustacean assemblages from coastal wetlands between a fragment archipelago and a landmass. The study included four typical crustacean taxonomic groups (i.e. Cladocera, Copepoda, Ostracoda and Malacostraca) from the Balearic Archipelago region as an example of a fragment island (Archipelago') and the Catalonia region as the landmass (Mainland'; Spanish Mediterranean coast). We tested null hypotheses based on the expected similarity between Archipelago and Mainland in terms of crustacean assemblages and biodiversity. Similar relationships of those community attributes with environmental variables were also expected in both regions. The results partially met the null hypotheses. We found that crustacean taxonomic composition varied between Archipelago and Mainland, likely due to peculiar biological and biogeographical processes acting in the Archipelago. The relationship between crustacean assemblages and the environmental variables was mostly similar between Archipelago and Mainland, as expected. Both regions also showed similar patterns of species distribution (i.e. Archipelago and Mainland coastal wetlands were characterised by a few dominant species). This result could be masked by the filter' effect exercised by the harsh conditions of coastal wetlands. Moreover, the total diversity values (gamma biodiversity) in the Archipelago were similar to the values for the Mainland, supporting the hypothesis that fragment islands can be of substantial value for the conservation of global biodiversity.
  • Becker-Scarpitta, Antoine; Auberson-Lavoie, Diane; Aussenac, Raphael; Vellend, Mark (2022)
    Despite many studies showing biodiversity responses to warming, the generality of such responses across taxonomic groups remains unclear. Very few studies have tested for evidence of bryophyte community responses to warming, even though bryophytes are major contributors to diversity and functioning in many ecosystems. Here, we report an empirical study comparing long-term change in bryophyte and vascular plant communities in two sites with contrasting long-term warming trends, using "legacy" botanical records as a baseline for comparison with contemporary resurveys. We hypothesized that ecological changes would be greater in sites with a stronger warming trend and that vascular plant communities, with narrower climatic niches, would be more sensitive than bryophyte communities to climate warming. For each taxonomic group in each site, we quantified the magnitude of changes in species' distributions along the elevation gradient, species richness, and community composition. We found contrasted temporal changes in bryophyte vs. vascular plant communities, which only partially supported the warming hypothesis. In the area with a stronger warming trend, we found a significant increase in local diversity and dissimilarity (beta-diversity) for vascular plants, but not for bryophytes. Presence-absence data did not provide sufficient power to detect elevational shifts in species distributions. The patterns observed for bryophytes are in accordance with recent literature showing that local diversity can remain unchanged despite strong changes in composition. Regardless of whether one taxon is systematically more or less sensitive to environmental change than another, our results suggest that vascular plants cannot be used as a surrogate for bryophytes in terms of predicting the nature and magnitude of responses to warming. Thus, to assess overall biodiversity responses to global change, abundance data from different taxonomic groups and different community properties need to be synthesized.
  • Wetzel, Carlos E.; Bicudo, Denise de C.; Ector, Luc; Lobo, Eduardo A.; Soininen, Janne; Landeiro, Victor L.; Bini, Luis M. (2012)
    Background The regression of similarity against distance unites several ecological phenomena, and thus provides a highly useful approach for illustrating the spatial turnover across sites. Our aim was to test whether the rates of decay in community similarity differ between diatom growth forms suggested to show different dispersal ability. We hypothesized that the diatom group with lower dispersal ability (i.e. periphyton) would show higher distance decay rates than a group with higher dispersal ability (i.e. plankton). Methods/Principal findings Periphyton and phytoplankton samples were gathered at sites distributed over an area of approximately 800 km length in the Negro River, Amazon basin, Brazil, South America (3°08′00″S; 59°54′30″W). Distance decay relationships were then estimated using distance-based regressions, and the coefficients of these regressions were compared among the groups with different dispersal abilities to assess our predictions. We found evidence that different tributaries and reaches of the Negro River harbor different diatom communities. As expected, the rates of distance decay in community similarity were higher for periphyton than for phytoplankton indicating the lower dispersal ability of periphytic taxa. Conclusions/Significance Our study demonstrates that the comparison of distance decay relationships among taxa with similar ecological requirements, but with different growth form and thus dispersal ability provides a sound approach to evaluate the effects of dispersal ability on beta diversity patterns. Our results are also in line with the growing body of evidence indicating that microorganisms exhibit biogeographic patterns. Finally, we underscore that clumbing all microbial taxa into one group may be a flawed approach to test whether microbes exhibit biogeographic patterns.
  • Gavioli, Anna; Milardi, Marco; Castaldelli, Giuseppe; Fano, Elisa Anna; Soininen, Janne (2019)
    Aim Exotic species are a major threat to biodiversity and have modified native communities worldwide. Invasion processes have been extensively studied, but studies on species richness and beta diversity patterns of exotic and native species are rare. We investigate such patterns among exotic and native fish communities in upland and lowland rivers to explore their relationship with environmental drivers. Location Northern Italy. Methods Exotic and native fish beta diversity patterns were investigated separately in lowland and upland sites using Local Contribution to Beta Diversity (LCBD) and Species Contribution to Beta Diversity (SCBD) analyses. To examine the main environmental variables affecting the LCBD, a Boosted Regression Trees (BRT) method was used. Community dispersion among and within stream orders was investigated with the PERMDISP test. Results In lowland sites, exotic species richness was higher than native species richness, especially in large rivers and drainage canals. An opposite trend was found in upland sites, where native species richness was higher than exotic species richness, especially in large rivers. No clear LCBD patterns were found along stream orders in the lowland, whereas higher stream orders in the upland showed the highest LCBD. Its patterns in upland and lowland sites were related to a number of factors, such as total suspended solids and total phosphorus. Community dispersion among stream orders did not show a relationship with environmental heterogeneity. SCBD values were positively correlated with species occupancy in the study area, and native species showed higher SCBD values than exotic species only in the uplands. Main conclusions Large rivers in the uplands are important in maintaining native fish diversity and should be protected against invasive fish. In contrast, most lowland rivers have suffered from biological homogenization. Some rare native species can show low contribution to beta diversity, but still need conservation actions due to their risk of local extinction.
  • Vilmi, Annika; Zhao, Wenqian; Picazo, Félix; Li, Mingjia; Heino, Jani; Soininen, Janne; Wang, Jianjun (2020)
    Understanding the role of climatic variation on biodiversity is of chief importance due to the ongoing biodiversity loss and climate change. Freshwaters, one of the most threatened ecosystems in the world, offer a valuable context to study biodiversity patterns of distinct organism groups in relation to climatic variation. In the Tibetan Plateau biodiversity hotspot, we studied the effects of climate and local physico-chemical factors on stream microorganisms (i.e. bacteria) and macroorganisms (i.e. macroinvertebrates) in two parallel catchments with contrasting precipitation and temperature. Diversities and community structures were better explained by climatic and local environmental variables in the drier and colder catchment and at higher elevations, than in the warmer and wetter conditions and at lower elevations. This suggests that communities may be more strongly assembled by deterministic processes in the former, comparatively harsher conditions, compared to the latter, more benign conditions. Macroinvertebrates were more strongly affected by climatic and local environmental factors compared to bacteria, but the diversities and community structures of the two groups showed spatially similar responses to overall abiotic variation, being especially evident with their community structures’ responses to climate. Furthermore, bacterial and macroinvertebrate diversities were positively correlated in the drier and colder catchment, implying that these biologically and ecologically distinct organism groups are likely to be driven by similar processes in areas with such climatic conditions. We conclude that changes in climatic and local environmental conditions may affect the diversity of macroorganisms more strongly than that of microorganisms, at least in subtropical mountainous stream ecosystems studied here, but simultaneous responses of both groups to environmental changes can also be expected.
  • Teittinen, Anette; Virta, Leena (2021)
    Biodiversity has traditionally been quantified using taxonomic information but the importance of also considering its functional characteristics has recently gained an increasing attention among microorganisms. However, studies exploring multiple aspects of taxonomic and functional diversity and their temporal variations are scarce for diatoms, which is one of the most important microbial groups in aquatic ecosystems. Here, our aim was to examine the taxonomic and functional alpha and beta diversities of diatoms in a coastal rock pool system characterized by a naturally high environmental heterogeneity. We also investigated the temporal differences in the diversity patterns and drivers. The relationship between the species richness and functional dispersion was temporally coherent, such that species-poor communities tended to be functionally clustered. The trend between the species richness and taxonomic uniqueness of community composition was temporally inconsistent, changing from negative to non-significant over time. Conductivity or distance to the sea or both were key determinants of species richness, functional dispersion, and uniqueness of community composition. The increase of community dissimilarity with an increasing environmental distance was stronger for the taxonomic than the functional composition. Our results suggest that even minor decreases in the species richness may result in a lowered functional diversity and decreased ecosystem functioning. Species-poor ecosystems may, however, have unique species compositions and high contributions to regional biodiversity. Despite changing the species compositions along the environmental gradients, communities may remain to have a high functional similarity and robustness in the face of environmental changes. Our results highlight the advantage of considering multiple biodiversity metrics and incorporating a temporal component for a deeper understanding of the effects of environmental changes on microbial biodiversity.
  • Teittinen, Anette; Virta, Leena; Li, Mingjia; Wang, Jianjun (2021)
    Islands provide ideal model systems to examine the factors influencing biodiversity, yet knowledge of microbial biodiversity on islands remains scarce. We collected a dataset from 101 rock pools along a freshwater to brackish water transition on islands of the Baltic Sea and investigated the patterns and drivers of community composition and species richness of diatoms, cyanobacteria and non-cyanobacteria bacteria among islands. We also examined whether environmental heterogeneity increased beta diversity and species richness within islands. Among islands, the patterns in community composition were concordant among the microbial groups, with distinct changes along the freshwater-brackish gradient. The patterns in species richness were context-dependent for each microbial group. In general, richness patterns were most strongly associated with nutrient concentrations or the distances to potential sources of immigrants, whereas no positive relationships between ecosystem size and richness were found. Within islands, environmental heterogeneity was positively correlated with the beta diversity of each microbial group, but not species richness. Our findings provide novel insights into the factors influencing microbial biodiversity. The results suggest that island microbial biodiversity patterns are influenced by species sorting and dispersal-related mechanisms and highlight the importance of environmental heterogeneity for beta diversity.
  • Aarnio, Sonja; Teittinen, Anette; Soininen, Janne (2019)
    Different metacommunity perspectives have been developed to describe the relationship between environmental and spatial factors and their relative roles for local communities. However, only little is known about temporal variation in metacommunities and their underlying drivers. We examined temporal variation in the relative roles of environmental and spatial factors for diatom community composition among brackish-watered rock pools on the Baltic Sea coast over a 3-month period. We used a combination of direct ordination, variation partition, and Mantel tests to investigate the metacommunity patterns. The studied communities housed a mixture of freshwater, brackish, and marine species, with a decreasing share of salinity tolerant species along both temporal and spatial gradients. The community composition was explained by both environmental and spatial variables (especially conductivity and distance from the sea) in each month; the joint effect of these factors was consistently larger than the pure effects of either variable group. Community similarity was related to both environmental and spatial distance between the pools even when the other variable group was controlled for. The relative influence of environmental factors increased with time, accounting for the largest share of the variation in species composition and distance decay of similarity in July. Metacommunity organization in the studied rock pools was probably largely explained by a combination of species sorting and mass effect given the small spatial study scale. The found strong distance decay of community similarity indicates spatially highly heterogeneous diatom communities mainly driven by temporally varying conductivity gradient at the marine-freshwater transition zone.
  • Malumbres-Olarte, Jagoba; Crespo, Luis Carlos; Domenech, Marc; Cardoso, Pedro; Moya-Larano, Jordi; Ribera, Carles; Arnedo, Miquel A. (2020)
    Understanding the causes behind species richness and endemicity is fundamental to explain biodiversity and assist conservation management, especially in biodiversity hotspots like the Mediterranean Basin. Here we investigate the patterns in Iberian forest spider communities and the processes behind their assembly, by testing hypotheses about the effects of climate and habitat on species richness, endemicity and structure of communities at different spatial scales, and about how microhabitat and dispersal affect the level of endemicity of species. We studied 16 spider communities in IberianQuercusforests from different climatic zones, applying a standardised sampling protocol. We examined the contribution of habitat, climate, and geography to the differences in the composition of spider communities across spatial scales using distance-based redundancy analysis models (dbRDA) and principal coordinates of neighbour matrices (PCNM). We assessed the effects of the same variables on the endemicity of communities (measured by a weighted index), and tested the correlation between the microhabitat and the ballooning frequency (obtained from bibliography), and the endemicity of species through generalised linear models. Spider communities formed two groups-one southern and one northern-based on similarity in species composition. Precipitation and temperature were inversely related with the number of species while geography and forest type explained the compositional similarities between communities at different spatial scales. Endemicity of communities increased with temperature and decreased with precipitation, whereas species endemicity decreased with ballooning frequency. Our findings illustrate how niche-related processes may drive spider diversity while dispersal determines species distribution and identity and, ultimately, community composition. From a conservation viewpoint, when maximising species richness is incompatible with prioritising endemicity, the criteria to follow may depend on the geographic scale at which decisions are made.
  • Fraser, Danielle; Villasenor, Amelia; Toth, Aniko B.; Balk, Meghan A.; Eronen, Jussi T.; Barr, W. Andrew; Behrensmeyer, A. K.; Davis, Matt; Du, Andrew; Faith, J. Tyler; Graves, Gary R.; Gotelli, Nicholas J.; Jukar, Advait M.; Looy, Cindy; McGill, Brian J.; Miller, Joshua H.; Pineda-Munoz, Silvia; Potts, Richard; Shupinski, Alex B.; Soul, Laura C.; Lyons, S. Kathleen (2022)
    Biotic homogenization-increasing similarity of species composition among ecological communities-has been linked to anthropogenic processes operating over the last century. Fossil evidence, however, suggests that humans have had impacts on ecosystems for millennia. We quantify biotic homogenization of North American mammalian assemblages during the late Pleistocene through Holocene (similar to 30,000 ybp to recent), a timespan encompassing increased evidence of humans on the landscape (similar to 20,000-14,000 ybp). From similar to 10,000 ybp to recent, assemblages became significantly more homogenous (>100% increase in Jaccard similarity), a pattern that cannot be explained by changes in fossil record sampling. Homogenization was most pronounced among mammals larger than 1 kg and occurred in two phases. The first followed the megafaunal extinction at similar to 10,000 ybp. The second, more rapid phase began during human population growth and early agricultural intensification (similar to 2,000-1,000 ybp). We show that North American ecosystems were homogenizing for millennia, extending human impacts back similar to 10,000 years.
  • Rodil, Iván F.; Lohrer, Andrew M.; Attard, Karl M.; Hewitt, Judi E.; Thrush, Simon F.; Norkko, Alf (2021)
    Similar to other coastal biogenic habitats (e.g. tidal marshes, kelp forests, mangroves and coral reefs), a key function of seagrass meadows is the enhancement of biodiversity. Variability at multiple spatial scales is a driver of biodiversity, but our understanding of the response of macrofauna communities to variability of seagrass meadows is limited. We examined the macrofauna community structure (abundance and biomass) and diversity patterns (alpha- and beta-diversity) across a seascape gradient of eleven seagrass meadows differing in the number, composition and density of plant species. The variability of the macrobenthic communities was regulated by a combination of sedimentary (mainly for the infauna) and macrophyte (mainly for the epifauna) predictors. We demonstrate that the natural occurrence of drifting algae trapped in the aboveground complexity of the meadows benefits seagrass macrofauna. Seagrass-associated macrofauna showed a clear increase in abundance and alpha-diversity metrics with increasing habitat complexity attributes (i.e. shoot density, plant biomass and canopy height). Furthermore, partitioning of beta-diversity (i.e. the variation of species composition between sites) implied the replacement of some species by others between sites (i.e. spatial turnover) instead of a process of species loss (or gain) from site to site (i.e. nestedness). Therefore, the enhancement of macrofauna diversity across an increasing gradient of seagrass complexity, and the dominance of the turnover component suggest that devoting conservation efforts on many different types of meadows, including the less diverse, should be a priority for coastal habitat-management.
  • Hewitt, Judi E.; Norkko, Joanna; Kauppi, Laura; Villnäs, Anna; Norkko, Alf (2016)
    While beta diversity has been implicated as a key factor in controlling resilience of communities to stressors, lack of long-term data sets has limited the study of temporal dynamics of beta diversity. With a time series at two sites in excess of 40yr, we investigated turnover of both species and functional traits in a system stressed by eutrophication and overfishing and undergoing climate change and invasion. The two sites, although located near to each other, differ in water depth (20 cf. 35m), but both sites have displayed increased abundances of an invasive polychaete since 1990. We tested two hypotheses related to the effect of an invasive species; that taxa richness and turnover would decrease, and trait richness would increase post invasion and that trait turnover would increase between arrival and establishment of the invasive. Generally, we observed different dynamics at the two sites and responses not consistent with our hypotheses. We detected an increase in taxa richness at both sites and an increase in taxa turnover and number of traits at one site only. Trait turnover was higher prior to the invasion, although again only at one site. Disjunctive responses between species and trait turnover occurred, with the invader contributing in a nonrandom fashion to trait turnover. The lack of strong, consistent responses to the arrival and establishment of the invasive, and the decrease in trait turnover, suggests that effects of invasives are not only system- and species-dependent, but also depend on community dynamics of the invaded site, in particular the assembly processes, and historical context.
  • Florencio, Margarita; Lobo, Jorge M.; Cardoso, Pedro; Almeida-Neto, Mario; Borges, Paulo A. V. (2015)
    Human-caused disturbances can lead to the extinction of indigenous (endemic and native) species, while facilitating and increasing the colonisation of exotic species; this increase can, in turn, promote the similarity of species compositions between sites if human-disturbed sites are consistently invaded by a regionally species-poor pool of exotic species. In this study, we analysed the extent to which epigean arthropod assemblages of four islands of the Azorean archipelago are characterised by nestedness according to a habitat-altered gradient. The degree of nestedness represents the extent to which less ubiquitous species occur in subsets of sites occupied by the more widespread species, resulting in an ordered loss/gain of species across environmental or ecological gradients. A predictable loss of species across communities while maintaining others may lead to more similar communities (i.e. lower beta-diversity). In contrast, anti-nestedness occurs when different species tend to occupy distinct sites, thus characterising a replacement of species across such gradients. Our results showed that an increase in exotic species does not promote assemblage homogenisation at the habitat level. On the contrary, exotic species were revealed as habitat specialists that constitute new and well-differentiated assemblages, even increasing the species compositional heterogeneity within human-altered landscapes. Therefore, contrary to expectations, our results show that both indigenous and exotic species established idiosyncratic assemblages within habitats and islands. We suggest that both the historical extinction of indigenous species in disturbed habitats and the habitat-specialised character of some exotic invasions have contributed to the construction of current assemblages.