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Benthic diatom metacommunity across small freshwater lakes: driving mechanisms, β-diversity and ecological uniqueness

Szabó, Beáta, Lengyel, Edina, Padisák, Judit, Stenger-Kovács, Csilla
Hydrobiologia 2019 v.828 no.1 pp. 183-198
Bacillariophyceae, data collection, environmental factors, freshwater lakes, niches, species richness
In this study, driving forces and diversity patterns of a benthic diatom metacommunity across small freshwater lakes exhibiting environmental heterogeneity were investigated. Furthermore, local (LCBD) and species (SCBD) contributions to β-diversity and their driving parameters were assessed with abundance- and incidence-based analyses. Our results revealed that both spatial distance and environmental heterogeneity affected the community assembly, which corresponds most to the mass-effect (ME) concept. This theory was confirmed by high α-diversity of sampling sites; however, high overall β-diversity enhanced mainly by turnover contradicted the ME paradigm. LCBD indices were affected by environmental variables; furthermore, LCBD and LCBD in terms of species replacement showed a strong positive correlation. The ecologically most unique sites hosted relatively low species richness, and common species with intermediate-sized or broad niches contributed mostly to the regional β-diversity. However, abundance- and incidence-based calculations revealed different relationships of SCBD with the species’ total abundance and the number of occupied sites. Consequently, we favor the previous suggestions that comprehensive research focusing on conservation should incorporate the investigation of LCBD, SCBD, species-rich sites and also ecologically restricted species. Moreover, in assessing ecological uniqueness, both abundance and binary data sets should be considered since they might shed light on distinct patterns.