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Braided river floodplains are highly dynamic ecosystems, where aquatic communities are strongly regulated by the hydrologic regime. So far, however, understanding of how flow variation influences assembly mechanisms remains limited. We collected benthic chironomids and oligochaetes over a year across a lateral connectivity gradient in the semi-natural Tagliamento River (Italy). Four bankfull flood events occurred during the study, allowing the assessment of how flooding and hydrologic connectivity mediate the balance between stochastic and deterministic community assembly. While invertebrate density and richness were positively correlated with connectivity, diversity patterns showed no significant correlation. Species turnover through time increased with decreasing connectivity. Contrary to expectations, hydrologic connectivity did not influence the response of community metrics (e.g. diversity, density) to floods. Invertebrate composition was weakly related to connectivity, but changed predictably in response to floods. Multivariate ordinations showed that faunal composition diverged across the waterbodies during stable periods, reflecting differential species sorting across the lateral gradient, but converged again after floods. Stable hydrological periods allowed communities to assemble deterministically with prevalence of non-random beta-diversity and co-occurrence patterns and larger proportion of compositional variation explained by local abiotic features. These signals of deterministic processes declined after flooding events. This occurred despite no apparent evidence of flood-induced homogenisation of habitat conditions. This study is among the first to examine the annual dynamic of aquatic assemblages across a hydrologic connectivity gradient in a natural floodplain. Results highlight how biodiversity can exhibit complex relations with hydrologic connectivity. However, appraisal of the assembly mechanisms through time indicated that flooding shifted the balance from deterministic species sorting across floodplain habitats, towards stochastic processes related to organisms redistribution and the likely resetting of assembly to earlier stages.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: PloS one
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Political subdivision of eastern RUSSIA located within Europe. It lies between the Volga River and the Kama River, and extends east to the Ural mountains.
State bounded on the north by Michigan and Lake Erie, on the east by Ohio River and Pennsylvania, on the south by Ohio River, and on the west by Indiana.
The collective designation of three organizations with common membership: the European Economic Community (Common Market), the European Coal and Steel Community, and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom). It was known as the European Community until 1994. It is primarily an economic union with the principal objectives of free movement of goods, capital, and labor. Professional services, social, medical and paramedical, are subsumed under labor. The constituent countries are Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. (The World Almanac and Book of Facts 1997, p842)
A territory of northwest Canada, bounded on the north by the Arctic Ocean, on the south by British Columbia, and on the west by Alaska. Its capital is Whitehorse. It takes its name from the Yukon River, the Indian yu-kun-ah, meaning big river. (From Webster's New Geographical Dictionary, 1988, p1367 & Room, Brewer's Dictionary of Names, 1992, p608)
A province of Canada, lying between the provinces of Alberta and Manitoba. Its capital is Regina. It is entirely a plains region with prairie in the south and wooded country with many lakes and swamps in the north. The name was taken from the Saskatchewan River from the Cree name Kisiskatchewani Sipi, meaning rapid-flowing river. (From Webster's New Geographical Dictionary, 1988, p1083 & Room, Brewer's Dictionary of Names, 1992, p486)