University of Oulu

Elo M, Alahuhta J, Kanninen A, Meissner KK, Seppälä K and Mönkkönen M (2018) Environmental Characteristics and Anthropogenic Impact Jointly Modify Aquatic Macrophyte Species Diversity. Front. Plant Sci. 9:1001. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2018.01001

Environmental characteristics and anthropogenic impact jointly modify aquatic macrophyte species diversity

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Author: Elo, Merja1,2; Alahuhta, Janne3; Kanninen, Antti4,5;
Organizations: 1Department of Biological and Environmental Science, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland
2School of Resource Wisdom, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland
3Geography Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
4River Basin Management Unit, Freshwater Centre, Finnish Environment Institute, Helsinki, Finland
5Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment for North Savo, Turku, Finland
6Eawag, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, Dübendorf, Switzerland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Frontiers Media, 2018
Publish Date: 2018-10-03


Species richness and spatial variation in community composition (i.e., beta diversity) are key measures of biodiversity. They are largely determined by natural factors, but also increasingly affected by anthropogenic factors. Thus, there is a need for a clear understanding of the human impact on species richness and beta diversity, the underlying mechanisms, and whether human-induced changes can override natural patterns. Here, we dissect the patterns of species richness, community composition and beta diversity in relation to different environmental factors as well as human impact in one framework: aquatic macrophytes in 66 boreal lakes in Eastern Finland. The lakes had been classified as having high, good or moderate status (according to ecological classification of surface waters in Finland) reflecting multifaceted human impact. We used generalized least square models to study the association between different environmental variables (Secchi depth, irregularity of the shoreline, total phosphorus, pH, alkalinity, conductivity) and species richness. We tested the null hypothesis that the observed community composition can be explained by random distribution of species. We used multivariate distance matrix regression to test the effect of each environmental variable on community composition, and distance-based test for homogeneity of multivariate dispersion to test whether lakes classified as high, good or moderate status have different beta diversity. We showed that environmental drivers of species richness and community composition were largely similar, although dependent on the particular life-form group studied. The most important ones were characteristics of water quality (pH, alkalinity, conductivity) and irregularity of the shoreline. Differences in community composition were related to environmental variables independently of species richness. Species richness was higher in lakes with higher levels of human impact. Lakes with different levels of human impact had different community composition. Between-lake beta diversity did not differ in high, good or moderate status groups. However, the variation in environmental variables shaping community composition was larger in lakes with moderate status compared to other lakes. Hence, beta diversity in lakes with moderate status was smaller than what could be expected on the basis of these environmental characteristics. This could be interpreted as homogenization.

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Series: Frontiers in plant science
ISSN: 1664-462X
ISSN-E: 1664-462X
ISSN-L: 1664-462X
Volume: 9
Article number: 1001
DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2018.01001
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1172 Environmental sciences
1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: The study was funded by the Academy of Finland (project #7115560), and Kone foundation (for ME).
Dataset Reference: Datasets are available on request: the raw data supporting the conclusions of this manuscript will be made available by the authors, without undue reservation, to any qualified researcher.
Copyright information: © 2018 Elo, Alahuhta, Kanninen, Meissner, Seppälä and Mönkkönen. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.