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Phosphorus and land-use changes are significant drivers of cladoceran community composition and diversity: an analysis over spatial and temporal scales

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We conducted paleolimnological studies over spatial and temporal gradients to define the responses of subfossil cladoceran community composition and diversity to changes in land use and phosphorus concentrations in shallow lakes. We predicted that watershed disturbance by humans, through its impact on water quality, would explain significant variation in cladoceran diversity and composition. Across lakes, water-column total phosphorus concentration was a significant (p< 0.05) predictor of the subfossil cladoceran community composition. Chydorid diversity was also found to be related significantly to phosphorus concentration (r= –0.55, p< 0.05) and the proportion of disturbed land in the watershed (r= –0.47, p< 0.05). However, net load of phosphorus to the watershed rather than proportion of watershed disturbance was a significant predictor of chydorid diversity (r= –0.86, p< 0.001) in our temporal analysis of an eutrophying lake. Given that phosphorus loading to surface waters is often related to phosphorus concentrations in soils, we suggest that the net phosphorus load to the watershed is a more sensitive metric of land-use change and necessary for detecting ecological responses in time series data.

Des études paléolimnologiques le long de gradients spatiaux et temporels nous ont servi à définir les réactions de la composition et de la diversité de la communauté subfossile de cladocères aux changements d’utilisation des terres et de concentrations de phosphore dans des lacs peu profonds. Nous avons prédit que la perturbation des bassins versants par les humains, par son impact sur la qualité de l’eau, expliquerait une partie importante de la variation de la composition et de la diversité des cladocères. Dans l’ensemble des lacs, la concentration de phosphore total dans la colonne d’eau est une variable prédictive significative (p< 0,05) de la composition de la communauté subfossile de cladocères. La diversité des chydoridés est aussi reliée significativement à la concentration de phosphore (r =–0,55, p< 0,05) et à la proportion de terres perturbées dans le bassin versant (r =–0,47, p< 0,05). Cependant, dans notre analyse temporelle d’un lac en voie d’eutrophisation, la charge nette de phosphore dans le bassin versant, plutôt que le pourcentage de perturbation du bassin versant, est une variable prédictive significative de la diversité des chydoridés (r =–0,86, p< 0,001). Étant donné que la charge de phosphore vers les eaux de surface est souvent reliée aux concentrations de phosphore dans le sol, nous croyons que la charge nette de phosphore vers le bassin versant est une métrique plus sensible au changement d’utilisation des terres et qu’elle est nécessaire pour détecter les réponses écologiques dans les séries chronologiques de données.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2010

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  • 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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