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Small-scale pattern of bryoflora in Mediterranean temporary ponds: hints for monitoring

Cogoni, Annalena, Filippino, Giorgia, Marignani, Michela
Hydrobiologia 2016 v.782 no.1 pp. 81-95
Brachytheciaceae, Pottiaceae, Riccia, biogeography, ecological function, ecosystems, environmental factors, floods, indicator species, monitoring, ponds, species diversity, water table, Mediterranean region
In the Mediterranean region temporary ponds are classified among the most biologically and biogeographically interesting ecosystems. Despite their important ecological functions in those environments, bryophytes are neglected or undervalued in most monitoring and conservation actions. We analyzed the data to understand if (i) environmental variables had an influence on the composition of bryophytes in temporary ponds (dbRDA); (ii) there are differences among sites and ponds, in terms of species composition (PERMANOVA); (iii) bryophytes respond to the water table fluctuation, showing a typical small-scale spatial zonation and comprehend if there are species or life form/strategies typical of those belts (PCoA). Bryophytes are distributed in concentric belts (outer, central, inner) according to their tolerance to floods: we observed a gradient from the outer belt, mainly composed by colonist and perennial such as Pottiaceae and Brachytheciaceae, to the more humid inner one where annual shuttle such as Ricciaceae dominates. We found significant species associated with belts, such as Tortella squarrosa in the outer belt, Fossombronia caespitiformis in the central belt, and Riccia canaliculata in the inner belt. The presence of indicator species and the distribution of dominant life form/strategies in the belts allow to monitor over time the changes in the flood level.