, Volume 812, Issue 1, pp 99–114 | Cite as

Regional and local determinants of macrophyte community compositions in high-latitude lakes of Finland

  • Janne Alahuhta
  • Seppo Hellsten
  • Minna Kuoppala
  • Juha Riihimäki


Species distributions are structured by regional and local determinants, which operate at multiple spatial and temporal scales. The purpose of our work was to distinguish the relative roles of local variables, climate, geographical location and post glaciation condition (i.e., delineation between supra- and subaquatic lakes during the post-glacial Ancylus Lake) in explaining variation in macrophyte community composition of all taxa, helophytes and hydrophytes. In addition, we investigated how these four explanatory variable groups affected macrophyte strategy groups based on Grime’s classification. Using partial linear regression and variation partitioning, we found that macrophyte communities are primarily filtered by local determinants together with regional characteristics at the studied spatial scale. We further evidenced that post glaciation condition indirectly influenced on local water quality variables, which in turn directly contributed to the macrophyte communities. We thus suggest that regional determinants interact with local-scale abiotic factors in explaining macrophyte community patterns and examining only regional or local factors is not sufficient for understanding how aquatic macrophyte communities are structured locally and regionally.


Ancylus Lake Aquatic plants Finland Glaciation Grime’s plant strategy Macrophytes Species traits Supra-aquatic lakes 



We are highly thankful for two reviewers for their fair and constructive comments, which clearly improved our work. We also thank Joseph Bailey for helping with the structural equation modelling. The project was partly supported by Biological Monitoring of Finnish Freshwaters under the diffuse loading project (XPR3304) financed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and partly by the national surveillance monitoring programmes of lakes. We thank the numerous field teams who participated in the field work. Seppo Hellsten was supported by the EU-funded MARS project (7th EU Framework Programme, Theme 6., Contract No.: 603378). Language of the manuscript was checked by Aaron Bergdahl.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 17811 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janne Alahuhta
    • 1
  • Seppo Hellsten
    • 2
  • Minna Kuoppala
    • 2
  • Juha Riihimäki
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of OuluOuluFinland
  2. 2.Freshwater CentreFinnish Environment InstituteOuluFinland

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