Diversity and distribution across a large environmental and spatial gradient: Evaluating the taxonomic and functional turnover, transitions and environmental drivers of benthic diatom communities

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Virta , L , Soininen , J & Norkko , A 2020 , ' Diversity and distribution across a large environmental and spatial gradient: Evaluating the taxonomic and functional turnover, transitions and environmental drivers of benthic diatom communities ' , Global Ecology and Biogeography , vol. 29 , no. 12 , pp. 2214-2228 . https://doi.org/10.1111/geb.13190

Title: Diversity and distribution across a large environmental and spatial gradient: Evaluating the taxonomic and functional turnover, transitions and environmental drivers of benthic diatom communities
Author: Virta, Leena; Soininen, Janne; Norkko, Alf
Other contributor: University of Helsinki, Department of Geosciences and Geography
University of Helsinki, Department of Geosciences and Geography
University of Helsinki, Ecosystems and Environment Research Programme







Date: 2020-12
Language: eng
Number of pages: 15
Belongs to series: Global Ecology and Biogeography
ISSN: 1466-822X
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/geb.13190
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/334642
Abstract: Aim Global biodiversity loss has raised interest in understanding variation in diversity at different scales. In particular, studies conducted across large spatial gradients are crucial, because they can increase perspectives on how ecological patterns change relative to environmental factors and facilitate predictions of possible responses to environmental change. We explored the full extent of a brackish sea to test the hypotheses that: (a) benthic communities are defined by the limited ranges of species, controlled by varying drivers along a large environmental gradient; (b) the responses of taxonomic and functional community composition and turnover to the environmental gradient are different, thus highlighting the need to include both measures in ecological studies; and (c) diversity reaches the minimum at intermediate salinities (Remane curve) owing to the low adaptation of freshwater and marine species. Location A large environmental and spatial gradient spanning the entire Swedish coastline (c. 2,300 km; salinity 1.2-27.6), the Baltic Sea. Time period August 2018. Major taxa studied Benthic diatoms. Methods We assessed environmental drivers for the communities and calculated the taxonomic and functional alpha and beta diversity along the gradient. We also compared the taxonomic and functional composition and diversity of communities among areas with different salinity. Results We found support for the hypothesis of limited species ranges, because taxonomic beta diversity, mainly induced by changes in salinity and climate, was high, whereas functional beta diversity remained considerably lower, and the composition and diversity of communities, in addition to environmental drivers controlling the communities, differed between regions with different salinity. The lowest taxonomic diversity was found at intermediate salinities of 5-6. Main conclusions These findings advance understanding of large-scale patterns of benthic diversity, emphasize the importance of large gradient studies for a better understanding of general ecological patterns and highlight the vulnerability of brackish water ecosystems as ecologically important tipping-point realms.
Subject: beta diversity
brackish
diatoms
diversity
functional
gradient
limited ranges
Remane curve
salinity
tipping points
BALTIC SEA
BIODIVERSITY
DISTURBANCE
PATTERNS
CLIMATE
ORDINATION
RESPONSES
SALINITY
NUTRIENT
SCALE
1172 Environmental sciences
1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
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