University of Oulu

Brüsecke, J., Muotka, T., Huttunen, K.-L., Litjo, S., Lepo, W.-P. and Jyväsjärvi, J. (2023), Drainage-induced browning causes both loss and change of benthic biodiversity in headwater streams. Limnol. Oceanogr. Lett, 8: 620-627.

Drainage-induced browning causes both loss and change of benthic biodiversity in headwater streams

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Author: Brüsecke, Joanna1; Muotka, Timo1; Huttunen, Kaisa-Leena1;
Organizations: 1Ecology and Genetics Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-09-29


Concentrations of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) have increased over the past few decades, causing freshwater browning. Impacts of browning on biodiversity have been little studied, despite many of the individual stressors associated with browning being known to control freshwater communities. We explored the responses of benthic invertebrates along a wide gradient of DOC concentrations (3.6–27 mg L⁻¹) in 63 boreal streams variously impacted by peatland drainage or peat production. DOC was a prime determinant of macroinvertebrate diversity and abundance, with the strongest negative response in algal scrapers. Threshold indicator taxa analysis indicated an abrupt community change at 12–13 mg DOC L⁻¹, with only four taxa increasing, while 13 taxa decreased along the gradient. Our findings of both a gradual loss and abrupt change of biodiversity along a browning gradient provide a benchmark against which changes to stream biodiversity relative to the predicted browning trend can be gauged.

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Series: Limnology and oceanography letters
ISSN: 2378-2242
ISSN-E: 2378-2242
ISSN-L: 2378-2242
Volume: 8
Issue: 4
Pages: 620 - 627
DOI: 10.1002/lol2.10302
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: This research was supported by grants from the Academy of Finland (grant no. 318230) and University of Oulu (Kvantum Institute).
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 318230
Detailed Information: 318230 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2022 The Authors. Limnology and Oceanography Letters published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.