University of Oulu

Alahuhta, J., Lindholm, M., Bove, C.P. et al. Oecologia (2018) 188: 1167.

Global patterns in the metacommunity structuring of lake macrophytes : regional variations and driving factors

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Author: Alahuhta, Janne1,2; Lindholm, Marja1; Bove, Claudia P.3;
Organizations: 1Geography Research Unit, University of Oulu
2Finnish Environment Institute, Freshwater Centre
3Departamento de Botânica, Museu Nacional, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro
4Centre d’Estudis Avançats de Blanes (CEAB), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)
5National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Limited
6Centre for Limnology, Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Estonian University of Life Sciences
7Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)
8Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)
9Tour du Valat, Research Institute for the conservation of Mediterranean wetlands
10Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, School of Forest Resources and Conservation, Institute of Food and Agricultural Services, University of Florida
11Natural Resources Research Institute, University of Minnesota Duluth
12Department of Freshwater Protection, Institute of Environmental Protection‒National Research Institute
13Department of Aquatic Ecology and Environmental Biology, Institute for Water and Wetland Research, Radboud University
14Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University
15Department of Tisza River Research, MTA Centre for Ecological Research
16Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA)
17Department of Biology, Research Group in Limnology, Ichthyology and Aquaculture-Nupélia, State University of Maringá
18Laboratory of Botany, Mycology and Environment, Faculty of Sciences, Mohammed V University in Rabat
19Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Biology, Moulay Ismail University
20Illinois Natural History Survey, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois
21Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
22Finnish Environment Institute, Biodiversity Centre
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2018
Publish Date: 2019-01-08


We studied community–environment relationships of lake macrophytes at two metacommunity scales using data from 16 regions across the world. More specifically, we examined (a) whether the lake macrophyte communities respond similar to key local environmental factors, major climate variables and lake spatial locations in each of the regions (i.e., within-region approach) and (b) how well can explained variability in the community–environment relationships across multiple lake macrophyte metacommunities be accounted for by elevation range, spatial extent, latitude, longitude, and age of the oldest lake within each metacommunity (i.e., across-region approach). In the within-region approach, we employed partial redundancy analyses together with variation partitioning to investigate the relative importance of local variables, climate variables, and spatial location on lake macrophytes among the study regions. In the across-region approach, we used adjusted R2 values of the variation partitioning to model the community–environment relationships across multiple metacommunities using linear regression and commonality analysis. We found that niche filtering related to local lake-level environmental conditions was the dominant force structuring macrophytes within metacommunities. However, our results also revealed that elevation range associated with climate (increasing temperature amplitude affecting macrophytes) and spatial location (likely due to dispersal limitation) was important for macrophytes based on the findings of the across-metacommunities analysis. These findings suggest that different determinants influence macrophyte metacommunities within different regions, thus showing context dependency. Moreover, our study emphasized that the use of a single metacommunity scale gives incomplete information on the environmental features explaining variation in macrophyte communities.

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Series: Oecologia
ISSN: 0029-8549
ISSN-E: 1432-1939
ISSN-L: 0029-8549
Volume: 188
Issue: 4
Pages: 1167 - 1182
DOI: 10.1007/s00442-018-4294-0
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
1172 Environmental sciences
119 Other natural sciences
Funding: Open access funding provided by University of Oulu including Oulu University Hospital. JA appreciates financial support from the Ella and Georg Ehrnrooth Foundation. BAL was supported by National Research, Development and Innovation Office—NKFIH, OTKA PD120775 Grant and by the Bolyai János Research Scholarship of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. S.K. was supported by NWO Veni grant 86312012. Sampling of the coastal Brazilian lakes was financed by NWO grant W84-549; The National Geographic Society grant 7864-5; and CNPq grants 480122, 490409, 311427.
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2018. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.