Local habitat heterogeneity determines the differences in benthic diatom metacommunities between different urban river types

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  • Shan Chen, Centre for Research on Environmental Ecology and Fish Nutrient of theMinistry of Agriculture, Key Laboratory of Exploration and Utilization of Aquatic Genetic Resources, Ministry of Education, National Demonstration Center for Experimental Fisheries Science Education, Shanghai Ocean University, Shanghai 201306, China, China
  • Wei Zhang, Centre for Research on Environmental Ecology and Fish Nutrient of theMinistry of Agriculture, Key Laboratory of Exploration and Utilization of Aquatic Genetic Resources, Ministry of Education, National Demonstration Center for Experimental Fisheries Science Education, Shanghai Ocean University, Shanghai 201306, China, China
  • Erik Jeppesen
  • Zhaoying Liu, Centre for Research on Environmental Ecology and Fish Nutrient of theMinistry of Agriculture, Key Laboratory of Exploration and Utilization of Aquatic Genetic Resources, Ministry of Education, National Demonstration Center for Experimental Fisheries Science Education, Shanghai Ocean University, Shanghai 201306, China, China
  • Xiaoying Xu, Shanghai Ocean University
  • ,
  • Liqing Wang, Shanghai Ocean University

Benthic diatoms are useful indicators of the ecological state of river systems. To understand the factors determining benthic diatom metacommunity composition in urban rivers, we studied in situ surface sediment diatom communities from 23 rivers in Shanghai City. Based on our study results on the metacommunity structure of benthic diatoms and hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA), we found substantial differences between restored (G1) and unrestored rivers (G2–G4) in taxa richness, relative abundances, and dominant and indicator taxa of benthic diatoms. The epiphytic diatoms Cocconeis placentula and Amphora libyca var. baltica were representative of the restored rivers (G1), where aquatic macrophytes were more abundant and the water was clearer. The motile epipelic diatoms Navicula recens and Navicula germainii dominated the moderately polluted rivers (G2). The eutrophic taxa Cyclotella meneghiniana, Aulacoseira granulata, and Cyclostephanos tholiformis dominated in G3, which comprised relatively heavily polluted rivers with low organic matter sediment and high disturbance. The polysaprobic taxon Nitzschia palea and the halophilous taxon Fallacia pygmaea represented relatively heavily polluted rivers with a comparatively higher sedimentary salinity (SSal) (G4). Redundancy analysis (RDA) revealed that total phosphorus (TP), dissolved organic carbon (DOC), silicon dioxide (SiO 2 ), dissolved oxygen (DO), Secchi depth (SD), SSal, and the ratio of carbon to nitrogen (C/N) in the sediment were important environmental factors explaining variation among benthic diatom metacommunity composition. Partial RDA (pRDA) implied that the relative importance of environmental factors in structuring benthic diatom metacommunity was much higher than spatial factors. Classification and regression trees (CART) further indicated that DOC, the sediment C/N ratio, and SSal were the key local environmental factors affecting grouping patterns of benthic diatom metacommunities. Our study proposes that benthic diatom metacommunities respond to the complex characteristics of local environment in urban rivers and provides useful knowledge for consideration in the ecological monitoring of urban river systems.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume669
IssueJune
Pages (from-to)711-720
Number of pages10
ISSN0048-9697
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • Benthic diatom metacommunity, Ecological indicator, Habitat heterogeneity, Highly urbanized megalopolis, Restored river

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