Fish assemblage and diversity in lakes of western and central Turkey: role of geo-climatic and other environmental variables
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We conducted a fish survey in 40 lakes in western and central Turkey. Fifty species (one to eleven per lake) were recorded, including eighteen endemic and seven alien species. We investigated which local geo-climatic and other environmental variables shaped the fish assemblages. Altitude and temperature turned out to be the most important factors for total species richness as well as richness of omnivorous and zooplanktivorous species and the Shannon–Wiener diversity index, with more species and higher diversity occurring in the warmer lowland lakes. Altitude may affect the fish assemblage directly through dispersal limitation or indirectly by creating a gradient in temperature with which it was strongly correlated. Cyprinidae was the most species-rich and widespread family. Atherinidae, Gobiidae, and Mugilidae (families of marine origin) were mainly found in the lowland regions, while Salmonidae exclusively appeared in the high-altitude lakes. The presence of widely distributed translocated native and alien species revealed a large human impact on the fish assemblages, potentially threatening the rich endemic fish fauna in lakes in this region.
KeywordsAltitude Alien species Endemic species Feeding functional groups Temperature Total phosphorus
This study was supported by TÜBİTAK- ÇAYDAG (Projects Numbers: 105Y332 and 110Y125), the Middle East Technical University (METU)-BAP program of Turkey (BAP.07.02.2007-2012), FP-7 REFRESH (Adaptive strategies to Mitigate the Impacts of Climate Change on European Freshwater Ecosystems, Contract No.: 244121), and the MARS project (Managing Aquatic ecosystems and water Resources under multiple Stress) funded under the 7th EU Framework Programme, Theme 6 (Environment including Climate Change), Contract No.: 603378 (http://www.mars-project.eu). TB was supported by TÜBİTAK program 2216—Research Fellowship Program for Foreign Citizens (Ref: B.14.2.TBT.0.06.01.03-216.01-24962). EEL, GB, UNT, and AİÇ were also supported by TÜBİTAK (Project Nos.: 105Y332 and 110Y125). SB’s contribution was supported by the TÜBITAK 2221—Visiting Scientist Fellowship Program and by the Marie Curie Intra European Fellowship no. 330249 (CLIMBING). EJ was further supported by CIRCE, CRES, and CLEAR. We are pleased to thank Gülşah Saç, Çiğdem Kaptan, Gürçay Kıvanç Akyıldız, and Ümmühan Aslan for assistance in the field and Anne Mette Poulsen for valuable editing of the manuscript. We also thank three anonymous reviewers for most valuable comments that helped shaping this paper.
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