, Volume 722, Issue 1, pp 31-43
Date: 05 Sep 2013

Quantifying temporal variability in the metacommunity structure of stream fishes: the influence of non-native species and environmental drivers

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Most studies characterize metacommunities based on a single snapshot of the spatial structure, which may be inadequate for taxa with high migratory behavior (e.g., fish). Here, we applied elements of metacommunity structure to examine variations in the spatial distributions of stream fishes over time and to explore possible structuring mechanisms. Although the major environmental gradients influencing species distributions remained largely the same in time, the best-fit pattern of metacommunity structure varied according to sampling occasion and whether or not we included non-native species in the analyses. Quasi-Clementsian and Clementsian structures were the predominant best-fit structures, indicating the importance of species turnover among sites and the existence of more or less discrete community boundaries. The environmental gradient most correlated with metacommunity structure was defined by altitude, area of artificial ponds in the catchment, and dissolved oxygen content. Our results suggest that the best-fit metacommunity structure of the native species can change in time in this catchment due to seasonal changes in distribution patterns. However, the distribution of non-native species throughout the landscape homogenizes the temporal variability in metacommunity structure of native species. Further studies are necessary from other regions to examine best-fit metacommunity structures of stream fishes within relatively short environmental gradients.