Effects of climate-driven temperature changes on the diversity of freshwater macroinvertebrates
Increasing temperatures due to climate change were found to influence abundance and timing of species in numerous ways. Whereas many studies have investigated climate-induced effects on the phenology and abundance of single species, less is known about climate-driven shifts in the diversity and composition of entire communities. Analyses of long-term data sets provide the potential to reveal such relationships. We analysed time series of entire communities of macrozoobenthos in lakes and streams in Northern Europe. There were no direct linear effects of temperature and climate indices (North Atlantic Oscillation index) on species composition and diversity, but using multivariate statistics we were able to show that trends in average temperature have already had profound impacts on species composition in lakes. These significant temperature signals on species composition were evident even though we analysed comparatively short time periods of 10–15 years. Future climate shifts may thus induce strong variance in community composition.