University of Oulu

Benthic macroinvertebrate and bryophyte assemblages in boreal springs: diversity, spatial patterns and conservation

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Author: Ilmonen, Jari1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Science, Department of Biology
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: 2009
Publish Date: 2009-04-06
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic dissertation to be presented with the assent of the Faculty of Science of the University of Oulu for public defence in the Laulujoutsen Auditorium, Finnish Environment Institute (Mechelininkatu 34 A, Helsinki) on 16 April 2009, at 12 noon
Reviewer: Professor Jari Kouki
Doctor Alastair Suren


In this thesis, I studied the patterns in the assemblage composition as well as the biogeography and ecology of spring macroinvertebrates and bryophytes in Finland. My main objectives were to assess the importance environmental variables to macroinvertebrate and bryophyte assemblage composition in springs at the level of multiple spatial scales. In addition, I assessed the importance of springs in the boreal mire landscape, and sought the ecological and environmental determinants of a key species in boreal springs. In a large-scale study, I also examined the concordance between macroinvertebrates and bryophytes across boreal ecoregions, and assessed how macroinvertebrate assemblage variation corresponds to terrestrially-based ecoregions.

Locally, spring macroinvertebrate assemblage structure displays high variation between different kinds of mesohabitats within springs, highlighting the importance of careful sampling of all habitat types in spring surveys. Helocrenes and other aquatic-terrestrial ecotone habitats harbour the highest species diversity and most spring-dependent species among spring habitat types. Further, spring-influenced mire patches were shown to have distinct cranefly assemblages in the mire landscape and to harbour higher cranefly diversity than mire types with lower trophic status, emphasising the importance of springs for mire biodiversity. Regionally, a red-listed spring-dependent caddisfly species appeared to be a surrogate for a high spring conservation value, indicating high overall species diversity and the occurrence of additional red-listed species.

On a large geographical scale, intersecting the boreal ecoregions, a pattern of gradual change of benthic macroinvertebrate assemblage composition from south to north was detected, largely corresponding to terrestrially-derived ecoregions. However, the physical attributes of springs also need to be taken into account in bioassessment studies. Macroinvertebrate assemblage variation also correlated with physical habitat-scale variables, but not with changes in water chemistry. In contrast, spring bryophyte assemblages showed a distinct response to variation in water chemistry, but not to variation in physical habitat characteristics. Bryophytes and insect assemblages were concordant with each other on the large geographical scale, although the concordance was rather weak. Because of their different kind of responses to the physical and chemical variables, insects and bryophytes of springs are poor surrogates for each other in boreal springs.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. A, Scientiae rerum naturalium
ISSN-E: 1796-220X
ISBN: 978-951-42-9063-3
ISBN Print: 978-951-42-9062-6
Issue: 523
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2009. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.