University of Oulu

Diversity patterns in marine and freshwater environments : the role of environmental and spatial factors across multiple scales

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Author: Astorga, Anna1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Science, Department of Biology
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: 2009
Publish Date: 2009-10-06
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 Kuusamonsali (Auditorium YB210), Linnanmaa, on 16 October 2009, at 12 noon
Reviewer: Professor Helmut Hillebrand
Doctor Hanna Tuomisto


Recognition of the importance of a regional perspective for understanding the structure and dynamics of local assemblages has stimulated the emergence of the field of macroecology. Most attention has been directed to terrestrial ecosystems, while large-scale patterns in biodiversity of aquatic organisms have received less attention. In this thesis I examined patterns of aquatic diversity across several geographic areas and scales, in an effort to understand some of the environmental and spatial factors determining species diversity in aquatic environments. The main objectives of this thesis were: (i) to examine the latitudinal diversity patterns of marine crustaceans and molluscs and their relationship to large scale environmental gradients, (ii) to study macroinvertebrate species richness in headwater streams at two spatial extents, within and across drainage systems, and assess the relative importance of local, landscape and regional variables, and (iii) to study diversity patterns of macroorganisms vs microorganism, comparing distance decay patterns of stream diatoms, macroinvertebrates and bryophytes.

Latitudinal diversity patterns of crustaceans and molluscs were clearly related to larval developmental mode. An increase in species richness towards high latitudes was found for species with direct development, whereas richness of species with planktotrophic development decreased poleward. Sea surface temperature was the most important environmental gradient related to species richness of both phyla and each developmental mode, but with different effects on each mode.

Stream macroinvertebrate species richness at the bioregion extent was negatively related to water humic content. Another factor related to species richness at the bioregion extent was elevation range, a variable linked to stream topographic heterogeneity. Local environmental variables explained most of the variation in species richness at the drainage system extent, however high among-region variability was evident.

Patterns between macro- and microorganism may not be fundamentally different, but the level of environmental control varied, being strongest for diatoms, while some groups of benthic macroinvertebrates exhibited relatively strong dispersal limitation. The relative importance of niche vs. dispersal processes is not simply a function of organism size but other traits (e.g. life-history type, dispersal capacity) may obscure this relationship.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. A, Scientiae rerum naturalium
ISSN-E: 1796-220X
ISBN: 978-951-42-9229-3
ISBN Print: 978-951-42-9228-6
Issue: 534
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.