3 years ago

Increased habitat connectivity homogenizes freshwater communities: historical and landscape perspectives

Angela L. Strecker, Jeffrey T. Brittain
Increases in habitat connectivity can have consequences for taxonomic, functional, and genetic diversity of communities. Previously isolated aquatic habitats were connected with canals and pipelines in the largest water development project in the US history, the Columbia Basin Project (CBP; eastern Washington, USA), which also altered environmental conditions; however, the ecological consequences are largely unknown. Using a historical dataset, we examined long-term patterns in zooplankton communities, water chemistry and clarity, testing the hypothesis that increased connectivity will result in taxonomic homogenization. Further, we tested contemporary drivers of communities using a comprehensive set of environmental and landscape variables. Waterbodies were sampled for zooplankton community composition as well as physical and chemical variables inside and outside the CBP using methods consistent with historical studies. We found significant declines in salinity inside the CBP, whereas changes in water clarity were prevalent across all waterbodies. Increased connectivity via canals homogenized zooplankton communities over time, as well as increasing regional richness. Other long-term changes in zooplankton communities may be related to climate change, invasive species, and land-use changes. Synthesis and applications. Though canals may offer species spatial refugia, homogenization may decrease resilience to environmental stressors. These new hybrid aquatic landscapes, or hydroscapes, should be considered carefully in future water development, including specific plans for monitoring of species and environmental conditions, as well as mitigation of undesirable conditions and/or non-native species.

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

DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.12882

You might also like
Never Miss Important Research

Researcher is an app designed by academics, for academics. Create a personalised feed in two minutes.
Choose from over 15,000 academics journals covering ten research areas then let Researcher deliver you papers tailored to your interests each day.

  • Download from Google Play
  • Download from App Store
  • Download from AppInChina

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.