Species richness at the guild level: effects of species pool and local environmental conditions on stream macroinvertebrate communities

Authors

  • Mira Grönroos,

    Corresponding author
    1. Finnish Environment Institute, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 413, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland
    2. Department of Biology, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 3000, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland
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  • Jani Heino

    1. Finnish Environment Institute, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 413, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland
    2. Department of Biology, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 3000, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland
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Correspondence author. E-mail: mira.gronroos@environment.fi

Summary

1. A fundamental question in ecology is which factors determine species richness. Here, we studied the relative importance of regional species pool and local environmental characteristics in determining local species richness (LSR). Typically, this question has been studied using whole communities or a certain taxonomic group, although including species with widely varying biological traits in the same analysis may hinder the detection of ecologically meaningful patterns.

2. We studied the question above for whole stream macroinvertebrate community and within functional feeding guilds. We defined the local scale as a riffle site and the regional scale (i.e. representing the regional species pool) as a stream. Such intermediate-sized regional scale is rarely studied in this context.

3. We sampled altogether 100 sites, ten riffles (local scale) in each of ten streams (regional scale). We used the local-regional richness regression plots to study the overall effect of regional species pool on LSR. Variation partitioning was used to determine the relative importance of regional species pool and local environmental conditions for species richness.

4. The local-regional richness relationship was mainly linear, suggesting strong species pool effects. Only one guild showed some signs of curvilinearity. However, variation partitioning showed that local environmental characteristics accounted for a larger fraction of variance in LSR than regional species pool. Also, the relative importance of the fractions differed between the whole community and guilds, as well as among guilds.

5. This study indicates that the importance of the local and regional processes may vary depending on feeding guild and trophic level. We conclude that both the size of the regional species pool and local habitat characteristics are important in determining LSR of stream macroinvertebrates. Our results are in agreement with recent large-scale studies conducted in highly different study systems and complement the previous findings by showing that the interplay of regional and local factors is also important at intermediate regional scales.

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