Taxonomic and biological trait differences of stream macroinvertebrate communities between mediterranean and temperate regions: implications for future climatic scenarios

Authors

  • NÚRIA BONADA,

    1. CNRS-Ecologie des Hydrosystèmes Fluviaux, Université Lyon 1, F-69622 Villeurbanne Cedex, France
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    • 1Present address: University of Granada, Department of Animal Biology, Severo Ochoa s/n, 18071 Granada, Spain.

  • SYLVAIN DOLÉDEC,

    1. CNRS-Ecologie des Hydrosystèmes Fluviaux, Université Lyon 1, F-69622 Villeurbanne Cedex, France
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  • BERNHARD STATZNER

    1. CNRS-Ecologie des Hydrosystèmes Fluviaux, Université Lyon 1, F-69622 Villeurbanne Cedex, France
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Núria Bonada, University of Granada, Department of Animal Biology, Severo Ochoa s/n, 18071 Granada, Spain, fax +34 958243238, e-mail: bonada@ugr.es

Abstract

Streams in mediterranean regions have highly seasonal discharge patterns, with predictable torrential floods and severe droughts. In contrast, discharge is less variable in temperate regions and intermittent flow conditions are uncommon. Hydroclimatic models predict that climate change would increase frequency and severity of floods and droughts across Europe, thus increasing the proportion of streams with mediterranean characteristics in actually temperate areas. Correspondingly, understanding actual ecological differences between mediterranean and temperate streams may help to anticipate large-scale ecological impacts of climate change. Given that large-scale factors determine local community composition, we hypothesized that climatic differences between mediterranean and temperate regions should affect the taxonomic and biological trait composition in streams. We assembled the abundance of stream macroinvertebrate genera of 265 sites each from the Mediterranean Basin and from temperate Europe and linked these abundances to published information on 61 categories of 11 biological traits reflecting the potential of resilience from and resistance to disturbances. Although regional taxonomic richness was higher in the mediterranean than in the temperate region, local taxonomic richness and diversity did not significantly differ between regions. Local trait richness and diversity were significantly higher in the mediterranean region. Both local taxonomic and trait-community composition differed between regions, but the former varied much more than the latter, highlighting that climate change could produce large changes in the taxonomic but rather weak changes in the trait composition. The mediterranean region was characterized by macroinvertebrates with higher dispersion and colonization capabilities, suggesting that species loss in the temperate region, by extinction or northward emigration of taxa, would be compensated for by immigration of southern mediterranean taxa. Thus, climate change would likely have stronger implications for the local conservation of taxa than for the trait composition of stream macroinvertebrate communities.

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