, Volume 723, Issue 1, pp 25-39
Date: 25 Apr 2013

Environmental filtering determines community patterns in temporary wetlands: a multi-taxon approach

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Abstract

Climate characteristics appear to play a key role in filtering organisms based on their biological traits. If this trait filtering by climate indeed occurs, it should have effects on the composition, dynamics, taxonomic relatedness and co-occurrence patterns of local assemblages, regardless of the taxonomic group considered. This preliminary study aimed to assess the extent to which environmental variables might determine these patterns in local communities and to evaluate whether the ultimate cross-taxon congruence relationships are consistent across, or dependent on, the selected region. To this end, we studied the bryophyte, macrophyte, macroinvertebrate, and amphibian communities in two clusters of temporary wetlands on the NE Iberian Peninsula under mesothermal and semiarid climates. We observed effects of environmental filtering, with the communities differing between the climatic regions not only in their compositions but also in their dynamics and taxonomic relatedness patterns. Although the cross-taxon congruence in terms of species richness was high in the mesothermal climate, most of the congruent relationships were disrupted in the semiarid environment. Overall, because climate-dependent patterns appear to prevail over climate-consistent ones, we suggest that the use of surrogate taxa may be of limited value when aiming to assess wetland biodiversity across large areas.

Guest editors: R. Céréghino, D. Boix, H.-M. Cauchie, K. Martens & B. Oertli / Understanding the role of ponds in a changing world