Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

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Record number 417395
Title Importance of habitat structure as a determinant of the taxonomic and functional composition of lentic macroinvertebrate assemblages.
Author(s) Verdonschot, R.C.M.; Didderen, K.; Verdonschot, P.F.M.
Source Limnologica 42 (2012)1. - ISSN 0075-9511 - p. 31 - 42.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.limno.2011.07.004
Department(s) CE - Freshwater Ecosystems
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2012
Keyword(s) species richness - invertebrate colonization - environment relationships - community structure - aquatic macrophyte - plant architecture - body-size - complexity - abundance - stream
Abstract Variation in habitat structure provided by macrophytes is regarded as one of the determinants of macroinvertebrate species composition in lentic ecosystems, but mechanisms underlying this relationship appear to be confounded with site-specific factors, such as physicochemical factors, epiphyton and composition of the vegetation. To better understand the relationship between structural complexity of a macrophyte stand and its macroinvertebrate assemblage composition, it is essential to determine the ecological role of different components of habitat structure for the phytomacrofauna. Using artificial structures as macrophyte mimics, representing three growth forms (stems, broad-leaved, finely dissected) and three structure surface areas (0.1, 0.2, 0.3 m2), a full factorial field experiment was conducted in a series of drainage ditches. We investigated if macroinvertebrate assemblages colonizing the structures were affected by an increase in macrophyte structure surface area, structural complexity, or by a combination of both, and if the observed patterns were consistent among sites differing in physicochemical and habitat characteristics. Assemblages were characterized both in terms of taxonomic and functional composition, because we expected that non-taxonomic aggregation of species into functional categories would give a different insight in habitat complexity–macroinvertebrate relationships in comparison to approaches based on the taxonomic assemblage composition. Ditch intrinsic factors, in part reflected in the periphyton on the structures, explained the major proportion of the variance in both the taxonomical macroinvertebrate assemblages and functional groups among structures. Contrary to our expectation, patterns in the taxon-based and functional dataset resembled each other. Only a minor contribution of growth form to the explained variance was observed in the taxonomical dataset, whilst differences in functional composition were unrelated to habitat structure. In conclusion, processes operating on larger spatial scales overrode the micro-scale effects of habitat structural complexity and surface area on macroinvertebrates.
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