University of Oulu

Baker, N.J., Welti, E.A.R., Pilotto, F., Jourdan, J., Beudert, B., Huttunen, K.-L. et al. (2023) Seasonal and spatial variation of stream macroinvertebrate taxonomic and functional diversity across three boreal regions. Insect Conservation and Diversity, 16(2), 266–284. Available from:

Seasonal and spatial variation of stream macroinvertebrate taxonomic and functional diversity across three boreal regions

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Author: Baker, Nathan Jay1,2; Welti, Ellen A. R.1,3; Pilotto, Francesca4;
Organizations: 1Department of River Ecology and Conservation, Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum Frankfurt, Gelnhausen, Germany
2Laboratory of Evolutionary Ecology of Hydrobionts, Nature Research Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania
3Conservation Ecology Center, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Front Royal, Virginia, USA
4Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, Oslo, Norway
5Department of Aquatic Ecotoxicology, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
6Department of Conservation and Research, Bavarian Forest National Park, Grafenau, Germany
7Department of Ecology and Genetics, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
8Oulanka Research Station, University of Oulu Infrastructure Platform, Kuusamo, Finland
9Water Unit, County Board of Dalarna, Falun, Sweden
10Department of River and Floodplain Ecology, University of Duisburg-Essen, Duisburg, Germany
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.3 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-10-03


1. The exploration of biodiversity has predominantly been based on taxonomic measures, whereas functional diversity, a key component of biodiversity, is comparatively understudied. Therefore, studies simultaneously investigating patterns of taxonomic and functional diversity change in biological communities are of increasing interest.

2. We collated high-resolution macroinvertebrate and environmental data from 70 boreal headwater stream sites across three European countries (Germany, Finland, Sweden) to (1) investigate seasonal variation in taxonomic diversity, functional diversity, and redundancy, and (2) identify their potential drivers of spatial and seasonal variation.

3. Seasonal changes in boreal macroinvertebrate taxonomic diversity were decoupled from changes in functional diversity. Seasonal shifts in environmental conditions, including acidity and nutrient variability, drove fluctuations in taxonomic diversity which were far more pronounced than those of functional diversity.

4. Seasonal shifts in environmental conditions including variation in the quantity, quality, and state of organic carbon (dissolved vs particulate) facilitate an exchange of taxa, leading to taxonomically unique communities that exploit the pool of available seasonal resources. Thus, similar levels of functional diversity across seasons—even as taxonomic diversity changes—suggest limited differences in interspecific changes in community function, potentially indicating functional resistance rooted in redundancy.

5. We highlight the spatial and seasonal discrepancies of freshwater communities, emphasising the need for both taxonomic and functional diversity patterns to be assessed in future biodiversity monitoring programmes.

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Series: Insect conservation and diversity
ISSN: 1752-458X
ISSN-E: 1752-4598
ISSN-L: 1752-458X
Volume: 16
Issue: 2
Pages: 266 - 284
DOI: 10.1111/icad.12623
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: The authors are grateful to the Rudolf and Helene Glasser Foundation and the Bernard and Ursula Plettner Foundation for financial support to Nathan Jay Baker (Grant No. T0083/30772/2017/kg) and to the eLTER PLUS project (Grant Agreement No. 871128) for financial support to Peter Haase.
Copyright information: © 2023 The Authors. Insect Conservation and Diversity published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Royal Entomological Society. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.