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Environmental filtering and limiting similarity as main forces driving diatom community structure in Mediterranean and continental temporary and perennial streams

Abstract : Climatic extreme events such as droughts (unpredictable), dry periods (predictable) or even flush floods, threaten freshwater ecosystems worldwide. The filtering mechanisms of these events and their strength on communities, however, can be different among regions. While time-for-adaptation theory defines whether or not water scarcity can be considered as disturbance, the stress-dominance theory predicts an increase in importance of environmental filtering and a decrease in the role of biotic interactions in communities with increasing environmental stress. Here, we tested whether environmental filtering (leading to trait convergence) or limiting similarity (leading to trait divergence) is the main assembly rule shaping the structure and trait composition of benthic diatom assemblages in Mediterranean (Portuguese) and continental (Hungarian) temporary and perennial streams. We assumed that the trait composition of diatom assemblages in the two stream types would be less different in the Mediterranean than in the continental region (addressed to time-for-adaptation theory). We also hypothesized that trait composition would be shaped by environmental filtering in the Hungarian streams while by biotic interactions in Portuguese streams (addressed to stress-dominance theory). Our results supported our first hypothesis since traits, which associated primarily to temporary streams were found only in the continental region. Our findings, however, only partially proved the stress-dominance hypothesis. In the continental region, where drying up of streams were induced by unpredictable droughts, biotic interactions were the main assembly rules shaping community structure. In contrast, environmental filtering was nearly as important as limiting similarity in structuring trait composition in the Mediterranean region during the predictable dry phase with no superficial flow. These analyses also highlighted that drought events (both predictable and unpredictable ones) have a complex and strong influence on benthic diatom assemblages resulting even in irreversible changes in trait composition and thereby in ecosystem functioning.
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Submitted on : Thursday, September 17, 2020 - 10:48:00 AM
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Gábor Várbíró, Gabor Borics, Maria Helena Novais, Maria Manuela Morais, Frédéric Rimet, et al.. Environmental filtering and limiting similarity as main forces driving diatom community structure in Mediterranean and continental temporary and perennial streams. Science of the Total Environment, Elsevier, 2020, 741, pp.140459. ⟨10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.140459⟩. ⟨hal-02901285⟩

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