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Latitudinal variation of diversity in European freshwater animals is not concordant across habitat types

Authors

  • Christian Hof,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Animal Ecology, Faculty of Biology, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Karl-von-Frisch-Strasse 8, 35032 Marburg,
    2. Present address: Center for Macroecology, Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark; Biodiversity and Global Change Lab, Department of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Madrid, Spain
      *Correspondence: Christian Hof, Biodiversity and Global Change Lab, Department of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Calle de José Gutiérrez Abascal, 2, 28006 Madrid, Spain. E-mail: chof@bio.ku.dk
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  • Martin Brändle,

    1. Department of Animal Ecology, Faculty of Biology, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Karl-von-Frisch-Strasse 8, 35032 Marburg,
    2. Virtual Institute Macroecology, Theodor-Lieser-Strasse 4, 06120 Halle, Germany,
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  • Roland Brandl

    1. Department of Animal Ecology, Faculty of Biology, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Karl-von-Frisch-Strasse 8, 35032 Marburg,
    2. Virtual Institute Macroecology, Theodor-Lieser-Strasse 4, 06120 Halle, Germany,
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*Correspondence: Christian Hof, Biodiversity and Global Change Lab, Department of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Calle de José Gutiérrez Abascal, 2, 28006 Madrid, Spain. E-mail: chof@bio.ku.dk

ABSTRACT

Aim  We analysed the variation of species richness in the European freshwater fauna across latitude. In particular, we compared latitudinal patterns in species richness and β-diversity among species adapted to different habitat types.

Location  Europe.

Methods  We compiled data on occurrence for 14,020 animal species across 25 pre-defined biogeographical regions of European freshwaters from the Limnofauna Europaea. Furthermore, we extracted information on the habitat preferences of species. We assigned species to three habitat types: species adapted to groundwater, lotic (running water) and lentic (standing water) habitats. We analysed latitudinal patterns of species richness, the proportion of lentic species and β-diversity.

Results  Only lentic species showed a significant species–area relationship. We found a monotonic decline of species richness with latitude for groundwater and lotic habitats, but a hump-shaped relationship for lentic habitats. The proportion of lentic species increased from southern to northern latitudes. β-Diversity declined from groundwater to lentic habitats and from southern to northern latitudes.

Main conclusions  The differences in the latitudinal variation of species richness among species adapted to different habitat types are in part due to differences in the propensity for dispersal. Since lentic habitats are less persistent than lotic or groundwater habitats, lentic species evolved more efficient strategies for dispersal. The dispersal propensity of lentic species facilitated the recolonization of central Europe after the last glaciation. Overall, we stress the importance of considering the history of regions and lineages as well as the ecological traits of species for understanding patterns of biodiversity.

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