Relationship of fish and macroinvertebrate assemblages to environmental factors: implications for community concordance
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- Infante, D.M., David Allan, J., Linke, S. et al. Hydrobiologia (2009) 623: 87. doi:10.1007/s10750-008-9650-3
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Community concordance describes similarity in distributions and abundances of organisms from different taxonomic groups across a region of interest, with highly concordant communities assumed to respond similarly to major environmental gradients, including anthropogenic stressors. While few studies have explicitly tested for concordance among stream-dwelling organisms, it frequently is assumed that both macroinvertebrates and fish respond in concert to environmental factors, an assumption that has implications for their management. We investigated concordance among fish and macroinvertebrates from tributaries of two catchments in southeastern Michigan having varied landscape characteristics. Classifications of fish and macroinvertebrate assemblages resulted in groups distinguished by differences in taxonomic characteristics, functional traits, and stressor tolerance of their respective dominant taxa. Biological groups were associated with principal landscape gradients of the study region, which ranged from forests and wetlands on coarse surficial geology to agricultural lands on finer, more impervious surficial geology. Measures of stream habitat indicated more stable stream flows and greater heterogeneity of conditions at site groups with catchments comprising forests and wetlands on the coarsest geology, but did not distinguish well among remaining site groups, suggesting that habitat degradation may not be the driving mechanism leading to differences in groups. Despite broadly similar interpretations of relationships of site groups with landscape characteristics for both fish and macroinvertebrates, examination of site representation within groups indicated weak community concordance. Our results suggest that explicit responses of fish and macroinvertebrates to landscape factors vary, due to potential differences in their susceptibility to controls or to differences in the scale at which landscape factors influence these organisms.