Unravelling the effects of multiple stressors on diatom and macroinvertebrate communities in European river basins using structural and functional approaches
Authors:De Castro-Català, Núria
Skoulikidis, Nikolaos Th.
Article (Published version)
© 2020 Elsevier B.V.
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Rivers suffer from more severe decreases in species diversity compared to other aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems due to a variety of pressures related to human activities. Species provide different roles in the functioning of the ecosystem, and their loss may reduce the capacity of the ecosystems to respond to multiple stressors. The effects on diversity will differ based on the type, combination and severity of stressors, as well as on the characteristics of the community composition and tolerance. Multiple trait-based approaches (MTBAs) can help to unravel the effects of multiple stressors on communities, providing a mechanistic interpretation, and, thus, complementing traditional biodiversity assessments using community structure. We studied the relationships between diversity indexes and trait composition of macroinvertebrate and diatom communities, as well as environmental variables that described the hydrological and geomorphological alterations and toxic pollution (pesticides and pharmaceuticals) of three different European river basins: the Adige, the Sava, and the Evrotas. These river basins can be considered representative cases of different situations in European freshwater systems. Hydrological variables were the main drivers determining the community structure and function in the rivers, for both diatoms and macroinvertebrates. For diatom communities, pharmaceutical active compound (PhAC) toxic units were also identified as a very important driver of diversity changes, explaining up to 57% of the variance in taxonomic richness. For macroinvertebrates, river geomorphology was an important driver of structural changes, particularly affecting Plecoptera richness. In addition, PhAC and pesticide toxic units were also identified as stressors for macroinvertebrate communities. MTBA provided a detailed picture of the effects of the stressors on the communities and confirmed the importance of hydrological variables in shaping the functional attributes of the communities.
Keywords:Biodiversity; Biofilm; Invertebrates; Toxic units; Traits; Hydrology
Source:Science of The Total Environment, 2020, 742, 140543-
- Managing the effects of multiple stressors on aquatic ecosystems under water scarcity (EU-603629)
- Catalan Government (Consolidated Research Group: Forestream 2017 SGR976)