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Energy input and zooplankton species richness

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What are the relative contribution of temperature and solar irradiance as types of energy deliveries for species richness at the ecosystem level? In order to reveal this question in lake ecosystems, we assessed zooplankton species richness in 1891 Norwegian lakes covering a wide range in latitude, altitude, and lake area. Geographical variables could largely be replaced by temperature-related variables, e.g. annual monthly maximum temperature or growth season. Multivariate analysis (PCA) revealed that not only maximum monthly temperature, but also energy input in terms of solar radiation were closely associated with species richness. This was confirmed by stepwise, linear regression analysis in which lake area was also found to be significant. We tested the predictive power of the “metabolic scaling laws” for species richness by regressing Ln of species richness over the inverse of the air temperature (in Kelvin), corrected for the activation energy (eV) as predicted by the Boltzmann constant. A significant, negative slope of 0.78 for ln richness over temperature, given as 1/kT, was found, thus slightly higher than the range of slopes predicted from the scaling law (0.60–0.70).

Temperature basically constrained the upper bound of species number, but it was only a modest predictor of actual richness. Both PCA-analysis and linear regression models left a large unexplained variance probably due to lake-specific properties such as catchment influence, lake productivity, food-web structure, immigration constraints or more stochastic effects.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2007

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