University of Oulu

Alahuhta, J., Lindholm, M., Baastrup-Spohr, L., García-Girón, J., Toivanen, M., Heino, J., & Murphy, K. (2021). Macroecology of macrophytes in the freshwater realm: Patterns, mechanisms and implications. Aquatic Botany, 168, 103325.

Macroecology of macrophytes in the freshwater realm : patterns, mechanisms and implications

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Author: Alahuhta, Janne1; Lindholm, Marja1; Baastrup-Spohr, Lars2;
Organizations: 1Geography Research Unit, University of Oulu, P.O. Box. 3000, FI-90014, Oulu, Finland
2Freshwater Biological Laboratory, Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, Universitetsparken 4 2100, København Ø, Denmark
3Ecology Unit, University of León, Campus de Vegazana S/N 24071, León, Spain
4Finnish Environment Institute, Freshwater Centre, Paavo Havaksen Tie 3, FI-90570 Oulu, Finland
5University of Glasgow, Glasgow, G12 8QQ, Scotland, United Kingdom
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2021
Publish Date: 2022-11-11


Broad-scale studies of species distributions and diversity have contributed to the emergence of general macroecological rules. These rules are typically founded on research using well-known terrestrial taxa as models and it is thus uncertain whether aquatic macrophytes follow these macroecological rules. Our purpose is to draw together available information from broad-scale research on aquatic macrophytes growing in lakes, ponds, wetlands, rivers and streams. We summarize how different macroecological rules fit the patterns shown by freshwater plants at various spatial scales. Finally, we outline future actions which should be taken to advance macroecological research on freshwater plants. Our review suggested that some macroecological patterns are relatively well-evidenced for aquatic macrophytes, whereas little information exists for others. We found, for example, that the species richness-latitude relationship follows a unimodal pattern, and species turnover prevails over species nestedness, whereas higher nestedness-related richness differences are found in low beta diversity regions. Contrary to terrestrial plants, climate or history seem not to be dominant determinants explaining these broad-scale patterns; instead local explanatory variables (e.g., water quality, such as alkalinity and nutrients, and hydromorphology) are often important for freshwater plants. We identified several knowledge gaps related, for example, to a smaller number of studies in lotic habitats, compared with lentic habitats, lack of spatially-adequate aquatic plant studies, deficiency of comprehensive species traits databases for aquatic macrophytes, and absence of a true phylogeny comprising most freshwater plant lineages. We hope this review will encourage the undertaking of additional macroecological investigations on freshwater plants across broad spatial and temporal scales.

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Series: Aquatic botany
ISSN: 0304-3770
ISSN-E: 1879-1522
ISSN-L: 0304-3770
Volume: 168
Article number: 103325
DOI: 10.1016/j.aquabot.2020.103325
Type of Publication: A2 Review article in a scientific journal
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: JA was partly supported by the Academy of Finland (grant 322652). MT acknowledges Maj & Tor Nessling Foundation.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 322652
Detailed Information: 322652 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2020 Elsevier B.V. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license