3 years ago

Functional redundancy modifies species–area relationship for freshwater phytoplankton

Functional redundancy modifies species–area relationship for freshwater phytoplankton
Judit Padisák, Béla Tóthmérész, Judit Görgényi, Gábor Várbíró, Éva Hajnal, Gábor Borics
Although species–area relationship (SAR) is among the most extensively studied patterns in ecology, studies on aquatic and/or microbial systems are seriously underrepresented in the literature. We tested the algal SAR in lakes, pools and ponds of various sizes (10−2–108 m2) and similar hydromorphological and trophic characteristics using species-specific data and functional groups. Besides the expectation that species richness increases monotonously with area, we found a right-skewed hump-shaped relationship between the area and phytoplankton species richness. Functional richness however did not show such distortion. Differences between the area dependence of species and functional richness indicate that functional redundancy is responsible for the unusual hump-backed SAR. We demonstrated that the Small Island Effect, which is a characteristic for macroscopic SARs can also be observed for the phytoplankton. Our results imply a so-called large lake effect, which means that in case of large lakes, wind-induced mixing acts strongly against the habitat diversity and development of phytoplankton patchiness and finally results in lower phytoplankton species richness in the pelagial. High functional redundancy of the groups that prefer small-scale heterogeneity of the habitats is responsible for the unusual humpback relationship. The results lead us to conclude that although the mechanisms that regulate the richness of both microbial communities and communities of macroscopic organisms are similar, their importance can be different in micro- and macroscales. The small island effect, which is a characteristic of macroscopic SARs, can also be observed for the phytoplankton. A so-called large lake effect (LLE), which means that in case of large lakes, wind-induced mixing acts strongly against the habitat diversity and development of phytoplankton patchiness.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/ece3.3512

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