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The efficiency of Taxonomic Sufficiency for identification of spatial patterns at different scales in transitional waters

Pitacco, Valentina, Mistri, Michele, Aleffi, Ida Floriana, Lardicci, Claudio, Prato, Susanna, Tagliapietra, Davide, Munari, Cristina
Marine environmental research 2019 v.144 pp. 84-91
data collection, latitude, monitoring, multivariate analysis, salinity, surface area, taxonomy
Taxonomic Sufficiency (TS), the use of coarser taxonomic resolution in monitoring plans, has been receiving increasing attention in last years. A comprehensive dataset of macrobenthos from 18 Italian lagoons in a range of different latitude, typology, salinity and surface area, was analysed in order to test the efficiency of TS, in terms of correlation between patterns at level of species and patterns resulting from different levels of taxonomic aggregation. First, TS was applied on a range of univariate indices, providing complementary information on macrobenthic community, in order to test the efficiency, in a contest of different taxonomic composition, and different number of lower taxa belonging to the same higher taxon in each lagoon. Then, TS was applied on multivariate analyses, in order to test whether the efficiency changes between two different scales: local (comparison of sites nested within each lagoon) and regional (comparison among lagoons), and with different data transformation. The patterns resulting from univariate indices and multivariate analyses, at both local and regional scales, were retained till family level, despite the different levels of taxonomic composition and different number of lower taxa belonging to the same higher taxon of different lagoons. Nevertheless, the correlation values among matrices and the effect of data transformation differed between regional and local scales. Our results support the efficiency of TS until family level, but at the same time underline the need of scale- and region-specific baseline knowledge prior application of TS in lagoons.