, Volume 828, Issue 1, pp 183–198 | Cite as

Benthic diatom metacommunity across small freshwater lakes: driving mechanisms, β-diversity and ecological uniqueness

  • Beáta SzabóEmail author
  • Edina Lengyel
  • Judit Padisák
  • Csilla Stenger-Kovács
Primary Research Paper


In this study, driving forces and diversity patterns of a benthic diatom metacommunity across small freshwater lakes exhibiting environmental heterogeneity were investigated. Furthermore, local (LCBD) and species (SCBD) contributions to β-diversity and their driving parameters were assessed with abundance- and incidence-based analyses. Our results revealed that both spatial distance and environmental heterogeneity affected the community assembly, which corresponds most to the mass-effect (ME) concept. This theory was confirmed by high α-diversity of sampling sites; however, high overall β-diversity enhanced mainly by turnover contradicted the ME paradigm. LCBD indices were affected by environmental variables; furthermore, LCBD and LCBD in terms of species replacement showed a strong positive correlation. The ecologically most unique sites hosted relatively low species richness, and common species with intermediate-sized or broad niches contributed mostly to the regional β-diversity. However, abundance- and incidence-based calculations revealed different relationships of SCBD with the species’ total abundance and the number of occupied sites. Consequently, we favor the previous suggestions that comprehensive research focusing on conservation should incorporate the investigation of LCBD, SCBD, species-rich sites and also ecologically restricted species. Moreover, in assessing ecological uniqueness, both abundance and binary data sets should be considered since they might shed light on distinct patterns.


Assembly mechanisms Diversity patterns Ecological uniqueness Mass-effect Species richness 



We thank the colleagues of the Department of Limnology for their contribution in field sampling and in laboratory work. The study was supported by the Széchenyi 2020 under the EFOP-3.6.1-16-2016-00015 and the National Research Development and Innovation Office (NKFIH K120595). Beáta Szabó was supported by the ÚNKP-17-3-IV-PE-5 New National Excellence Program of the Ministry of Human Capacities.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.MTA-PE Limnoecology Research GroupHungarian Academy of SciencesVeszprémHungary
  2. 2.Department of LimnologyUniversity of PannoniaVeszprémHungary

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