Large-scale geographical and environmental drivers of shallow lake diatom metacommunities across Europe

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  • Omar Rodríguez-Alcalá, University of Leon
  • ,
  • Saúl Blanco, University of Leon
  • ,
  • Jorge García-Girón, University of Leon
  • ,
  • Erik Jeppesen
  • Ken Irvine, UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education
  • ,
  • Peeter Nõges, Estonian University of Life Sciences
  • ,
  • Tiina Nõges, Estonian University of Life Sciences
  • ,
  • Elisabeth M. Gross, Universite de Lorraine
  • ,
  • Eloy Bécares, University of Leon

Disentangling the relative role of species sorting and dispersal limitation in biological communities has become one of the main issues for community ecologists and biogeographers. In this study, we analysed a data set of epiphytic diatoms comprising 34 lakes from six European countries. This data set covers a relatively large latitudinal gradient to elucidate which processes are affecting the distribution of diatom communities on a broad spatial extent. Our results show strong environmental effects on the composition of the diatom communities, while the spatial factor effects were weak, emphasising that compositional variation was mainly due to species turnover. Our data support information from the literature that local abiotic factors are the main predictors controlling the compositional variation of diatom assemblages in European shallow lakes. More specifically, changes in species composition were driven mainly by nutrient content in Northern Europe, whereas lakes located in Southern Europe were more affected by conductivity and lake depth. Our results solve pending questions in the spatial ecology of diatoms by proving that species turnover is stronger than nestedness at any spatial scale, and give support to the use of epiphytic diatoms as biological indicators for shallow lakes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number135887
JournalScience of the total Environment
Volume707
Number of pages8
ISSN0048-9697
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • Beta-diversity, Diversity pattern, Epiphytic diatoms, Latitudinal gradient, Shallow lakes

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