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Natural variation of profundal macroinvertebrate communities in boreal lakes is related to lake morphometry: implications for bioassessment

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Abstract:

Modern biological assessment of aquatic systems is often based on the reference condition approach, which requires characterization of biota in undisturbed conditions. For this approach, it is essential to recognize the origins and degree of natural variation in communities. We used data from 55 minimally disturbed Finnish lake basins to investigate the natural variation of profundal macroinvertebrate community composition in relation to environmental factors. Partial canonical correspondence analysis showed that most (68% combined, 39% uniquely) of the total explained compositional variation (29%) was correlated with environmental variables insensitive to human activities, especially lake morphometry. In contrast, the unique contributions of geographical location and variables influenced by human activities (dissolved oxygen and total phosphorus) were substantially smaller (5.5% and 22%, respectively). All of the explained variation (38%–64%) of three widely used community metrics was also correlated with human-insensitive environmental factors. The results suggest that variation in undisturbed profundal invertebrate communities of reference sites is strongly dependent on variables insensitive to human activities and especially on those related to lake morphometry, suggesting that reference communities for bioassessment of impacted lakes should be rather predictable from these variables.

L’évaluation biologique moderne des systèmes aquatiques se fonde souvent sur une méthodologie basée sur les conditions témoins, ce qui exige la caractérisation des organismes vivants dans des conditions non perturbées. Dans cette méthode, il est essentiel de connaître l’origine et l’étendue de la variation naturelle des communautés. Nous utilisons des données provenant de 55 bassins lacustres de Finlande avec des perturbations minimales pour étudier la variation naturelle de la composition des communautés de macroinvertébrés de la zone profonde en fonction des facteurs de l’environnement. Une analyse canonique partielle des correspondances montre que la majeure partie (68 % en combinaison, 39 % entièrement) de la variation totale de la composition (29 %) est en corrélation avec des variables du milieu qui ne sont pas affectées par les activités humaines, en particulier les caractéristiques morphométriques des lacs. En revanche, les contributions particulières de la situation géographique et des variables affectées par les activités humaines (oxygène dissous et phosphore total) sont substantiellement moins importantes (respectivement 5,5 % et 22 %). Toute la variation expliquée (38 % à 64 %) de trois métriques de communauté d’utilisation courante est aussi reliée aux facteurs du milieu non affectés par les humains. Ces résultats indiquent que la variation dans les communautés profondes non perturbées d’invertébrés des sites témoins est fortement dépendante de variables insensibles aux activités humaines et particulièrement de celles qui sont reliées à la morphologie lacustre, ce qui laisse croire que les communautés témoins utilisées pour l’évaluation biologique des lacs perturbés devraient pouvoir être prédites jusqu’à un certain point à partir de ces variables.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2009

More about this publication?
  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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