Hydrobiologia

, Volume 197, Issue 1, pp 257–266

Salinity as a determinant of salt lake fauna: a question of scale

  • W. D. Williams
  • A. J. Boulton
  • R. G. Taaffe
Article

DOI: 10.1007/BF00026955

Cite this article as:
Williams, W.D., Boulton, A.J. & Taaffe, R.G. Hydrobiologia (1990) 197: 257. doi:10.1007/BF00026955

Abstract

High and often variable salinity is an obvious feature of salt lakes. Correspondingly, salinity is usually assumed to be an important ecological determinant in such lakes. An investigation of the macroinvertebrate fauna of 79 lakes (salinities from 0.3 to 343 g 1−1) in the Western District of Victoria, Australia, examined this assumption. Over the total range of salinity, species richness and composition are highly correlated with salinity. However, these relationships become nonsignificant over intermediate ranges of salinity. Furthermore, many taxa have very broad tolerances to salinity at these intermediate ranges, implying that factors other than salinity may determine their distribution. An appreciation of scale (that is, the range of salinity over which observations are considered) resolves the paradox that, despite these broad tolerances by most taxa, species richness and composition strongly reflect salinity over the entire salinity range.

Key words

ecological scalesalt lakesspecies richnessspecies compositionsalinitymacroinvertebrates

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. D. Williams
    • 1
  • A. J. Boulton
    • 1
  • R. G. Taaffe
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia