University of Oulu

Kärnä, O., Heino, J., Laamanen, T. et al. Does catchment geodiversity foster stream biodiversity?. Landscape Ecol 34, 2469–2485 (2019).

Does catchment geodiversity foster stream biodiversity?

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Author: Kärnä, Olli-Matti1; Heino, Jani2; Laamanen, Tiina2;
Organizations: 1Geography Research Unit, University of Oulu, P. O. Box 8000, 90014, Oulu, Finland
2Finnish Environment Institute, Freshwater Centre, Paavo Havaksen tie, 90570, Oulu, Finland
3Department of Geosciences and Geography, University of Helsinki, P. O. Box 33, 00014, Helsinki, Finland
4Department of Biological and Environmental Science, University of Jyväskylä, P.O. Box 35, 40014, Jyväskylä, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.8 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2019
Publish Date: 2020-02-25


Context: One approach to maintain the resilience of biotic communities is to protect the variability of abiotic characteristics of Earth’s surface, i.e. geodiversity. In terrestrial environments, the relationship between geodiversity and biodiversity is well recognized. In streams, the abiotic properties of upstream catchments influence stream communities, but the relationships between catchment geodiversity and aquatic biodiversity have not been previously tested.

Objectives: The aim was to compare the effects of local environmental and catchment variables on stream biodiversity. We specifically explored the usefulness of catchment geodiversity in explaining the species richness on stream macroinvertebrate, diatom and bacterial communities.

Methods: We used 3 geodiversity variables, 2 land use variables and 4 local habitat variables to examine species richness variation across 88 stream sites in western Finland. We used boosted regression trees to explore the effects of geodiversity and other variables on biodiversity.

Results: We detected a clear effect of catchment geodiversity on species richness, although the traditional local habitat and land use variables were the strongest predictors. Especially soil-type richness appeared as an important factor for species richness. While variables related to stream size were the most important for macroinvertebrate richness and partly for bacterial richness, the importance of water chemistry and land use for diatom richness was notable.

Conclusions: In addition to traditional environmental variables, geodiversity may affect species richness variation in streams, for example through changes in water chemistry. Geodiversity information could be used as a proxy for predicting stream species richness and offers a supplementary tool for conservation efforts.

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Series: Landscape ecology
ISSN: 0921-2973
ISSN-E: 1572-9761
ISSN-L: 0921-2973
Volume: 34
Pages: 2469 - 2485
DOI: 10.1007/s10980-019-00901-z
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1172 Environmental sciences
1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: Open access funding was provided by the University of Oulu. We thank the Academy of Finland for supporting our research on biodiversity and geodiversity [Grants to J. Heino (273557), J. Hjort (315519) and J. Soininen (273560)].
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 315519
Detailed Information: 315519 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2019 The Authors. Open Access. 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.