• Climate equilibrium;
  • diving beetles;
  • Dytiscidae;
  • Iberian Peninsula;
  • lentic species;
  • lotic species;
  • post-glacial recolonization;
  • potential distribution;
  • realized distribution;
  • western Europe


Aim  The contrasting habitat permanence over geological time-scales of lotic and lentic habitats may impose different constraints on the dispersal ability of their macroinvertebrate populations, and ultimately on the degree of equilibrium with current climate. We aim to test for differences between species typical of either habitat type in their potential versus realized distributions as a surrogate measure of degree of climate equilibrium, both in refuges and more recently deglaciated areas.

Location  Western Europe.

Methods  We focus on 99 Iberian diving beetles (family Dytiscidae). A multidimensional envelope procedure was used to estimate their potential distributions, which were projected for different spatial scales. At the continental scale we calculated the percentage of countries with climatically suitable conditions for each species over those actually occupied (range filling). At the regional scale, we estimated realized distributions using: (1) convex hull polygons for Sweden and the Iberian Peninsula; and (2) generalized linear models for the Iberian Peninsula.

Results  In the Iberian Peninsula, differences in the degree of equilibrium with climatic conditions between lotic and lentic species were few, if any. However, at the continental scale we found significant differences, with lentic species closer to equilibrium than lotic species. In the recently deglaciated area (Sweden) the subset of species with ranges wide enough to encompass Iberia and Scandinavia were mostly lentic, and all were closer to climatic equilibrium without significant differences between habitat types.

Main conclusions  Our results show that, at continental scales, climate equilibrium is not concordant between the habitat types across western Europe. We hypothesize that: (1) the differences between refuge areas in dispersal ability are erased probably due to long-term climatic stability, allowing enough time to reach equilibrium, and (2) the species with wide geographical ranges able to recolonize recently deglaciated areas should have the highest dispersal abilities, and are closer to climatic equilibrium.