Wind mediated dispersal of freshwater invertebrates in a rock pool metacommunity: differences in dispersal capacities and modes
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Current evidence suggests regular overland transport of different freshwater invertebrates by wind, mainly over short distances. Yet, very little is known about the mechanism and scale of this process or about differences in wind dispersal dynamics and capacities among taxa and propagule types. We investigated wind dispersal of freshwater invertebrates in a cluster of temporary rock pools (spatial scale: 9,000 m2) in South Africa. Dispersing propagules and propagule bank fragments (i.e. aggregates of sediments and propagules) were intercepted during 1 month using a combination of windsocks (1.5 m above ground level) and sticky traps (ground level). The potential movement of propagule bank fragments (i.e. aggregates of propagules and sediments) was also simulated by tracking inter-pool movements of differently sized artificial substrate fragments similar to dry propagule bank fragments. We detected differences in the composition of dispersing communities intercepted at different altitudes (ground level and at 1.5 m). Comparison of dispersal distance distributions also revealed significant differences among taxa. Overall, larger propagule types (e.g. adult ostracods and oribatid mites) dominantly travelled near ground level while small resting eggs and cryptobiotic life stages of copepods were most frequently collected at higher altitudes (1.5 m) and dispersed over the longest distances. Finally, not only dispersal of single propagules but also ground level transport of propagule bank fragments was shown to contribute to local dispersal dynamics in temporary aquatic habitats.
KeywordsDispersal Dormancy Propagule banks Resting eggs Temporary pools Zooplankton
Bram Vanschoenwinkel was supported by the Fund for scientific research Flanders (FWO). We thank Mr. Danie Vorster, Oom Thys and Annelize Strydom, for logistic support and access to the site and Ine Beyen for help in the field. We are grateful to Ria Van Houdt and Stef Usé for their contribution to the design and manufacturing of the windsocks. This research is financially supported by project G.0118.03 of the FWO (Fund for scientific research Flanders).
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