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Competitive exclusion and habitat segregation in seasonal macroinvertebrate assemblages in temporary ponds

AuthorsFlorencio, Margarita ; Gómez-Rodríguez, Carola ; Serrano, Laura ; Díaz-Paniagua, Carmen
Keywordshabitat checkerboard
competitive checkerboard
invertebrate composition
community structure
Mediterranean ponds
pond filling
ponn dissecation
Issue Date2013
PublisherSociety for Freshwater Science
CitationFreshwater Science, 32(2): 650-662(2013)
AbstractSeasonal variation in macroinvertebrate assemblages usually is attributed to environmental variability, but this relationship is unclear in temporary ponds because they are highly dynamic across time. We assessed the influence of environmental variables and biotic interactions on macroinvertebrate community structure in 22 temporary ponds sampled monthly over 2 successive years that differed in rainfall. We hypothesized that abiotic and biotic variables would have different influences on macroinvertebrates having different dispersal abilities (capable of dispersal or not) and dietary modes (predaceous or not). Constrained Analysis of Principal Coordinates showed mainly seasonal influences on community assembly. During the filling phase, water-column total P (TP) and pH were important, whereas maximum depth, pH, electrical conductivity, and dissolved O2 were important during the aquatic phase. When ponds were close to desiccation, water-column electrical conductivity and TP and sediment organic matter were most influential. Predation by urodele adults occurred early in the inundation cycle and by urodele larvae when the ponds were close to desiccation. Negative species checkerboards (patterns of species noncoexistence) revealed that primarily competitive exclusion was in operation immediately after pond inundation, whereas competitive exclusion and habitat segregation were operating in tandem during the subsequent months. During the drying phase, general deterioration of environmental conditions and high pressure exerted by biotic interactions may trigger macroinvertebrate strategies to survive desiccation. Variability in pond characteristics allows macroinvertebrate species to assemble and disassemble in response to pond inundation–desiccation cycles and, thus, supports high biodiversity in the area
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1899/12-105.1
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