Editor: Andrés Baselga
Contrasting effects of natural and anthropogenic stressors on beta diversity in river organisms
Article first published online: 17 APR 2013
© 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Global Ecology and Biogeography
Volume 22, Issue 7, pages 796–805, July 2013
How to Cite
Gutiérrez-Cánovas, C., Millán, A., Velasco, J., Vaughan, I. P. and Ormerod, S. J. (2013), Contrasting effects of natural and anthropogenic stressors on beta diversity in river organisms. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 22: 796–805. doi: 10.1111/geb.12060
- Issue published online: 13 JUN 2013
- Article first published online: 17 APR 2013
- Fundación Séneca (Agencia Regional de Ciencia y Tecnología, Región de Murcia)
- Beta diversity;
- benthic macroinvertebrates;
- biodiversity conservation;
- human-induced stress;
- natural stress;
- species distributions;
- stress specialists;
We hypothesized that mechanisms underlying beta diversity in rivers would differ between gradients where (1) natural stressors result in progressive species turnover with high specificity and (2) anthropogenic stressors result in the loss of specialist taxa thus giving rise to nestedness.
Great Britain, the Iberian Peninsula and the Himalayan Mountains.
We analysed five datasets describing benthic macroinvertebrates sampled along natural (elevation, salinity) and anthropogenic (acidity, metals, land use) stress gradients. Predictions were tested by fitting models relating species richness and beta-diversity components (total, turnover and nestedness dissimilarities) to putative stress intensity (i.e. the degree to which a particular environmental constraint filters species occurrence).
Stress intensity accounted for most of the variability in species richness (r2 = 0.64–0.93), which declined with increasing stress. Dissimilarity in community composition between locations increased with the difference in stress intensity for all datasets. For natural stressors, beta-diversity patterns mainly reflected species turnover, whilst for anthropogenic stressors beta diversity mainly reflected nesting of subsets of species as stress intensity increased.
Our results support the hypothesis that natural and anthropogenic stressors generate contrasting patterns in beta diversity that arise through different mechanisms.