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Differences in bioregional classifications among four aquatic biotic groups: Implications for conservation reserve design and monitoring programs

Growns, Ivor
Journal of environmental management 2009 v.90 no.8 pp. 2652-2658
ecoregions, classification, macrophytes, macroinvertebrates, freshwater fish, frogs, community structure, biodiversity, environmental factors, New South Wales
Bioregional classifications are used extensively for conservation management and monitoring programs. This study used generalised dissimilarity modelling (GDM) to test the ability of different regional classifications of four groups of aquatic biota to be used as surrogates for each other. Classifications were derived for aquatic macrophytes, macroinvertebrates, freshwater fish and frogs using community-level modelling, or GDM, which relates the biotic assemblage structure with environmental variables. Six regions were defined for each biotic group for the State of New South Wales. Regional classifications differed markedly between the different biotic groups because the environmental drivers that were related to species turnover throughout the region differed among groups. Altitude and rainfall were the strongest drivers of species turnover among the groups. Results suggest that physiographic variables should be incorporated in reserve design and monitoring programs to explicitly address differences in classifications between similar biotic groups.