Persist or perish: critical life stages determine the sensitivity of invertebrates to disturbances
Lee, Gea H. van der; Kraak, Michiel H.S. ; Verdonschot, Ralf C.M. ; Verdonschot, Piet F.M. - \ 2020
Aquatic Sciences 82 (2020)2. - ISSN 1015-1621
Agapetus fuscipes - Bioassessment - Discharge - Life cycle - Lowland streams
A large proportion of studies assessing the impact of disturbances on the invertebrate community composition focus on a single life stage, assuming that those are an adequate indicator of environmental conditions. The effect of a specific disturbance may, however, depend on the life stage of the exposed organism. Therefore, we focused on the effect of spates on the caddisfly Agapetus fuscipes CURTIS (Trichoptera: Glossosomatidae) during different larval stages. A 2 year field study was performed in which we measured the discharge dynamics and population development of A. fuscipes in four lowland streams in The Netherlands. A stage-structured population model (i.e. StagePop) was used to test the impact of peak discharge on the different life stages, as larval instars 1–4 were not effectively sampled in the field. Four different mortality rates in response to spates were simulated, including a constant low, a constant high, a decreasing and an increasing impact per larval stage. This way, we were able to show a potential association between spates and population declines, where the stage-population model including decreasing impact by spates with increasing larval life stage most accurately described the population development of the larval instars 5–8. Focusing only on late instars could thus potentially result in underestimation of the effects of spates on this species. In conclusion, determination of responses of critical life stages to specific disturbances may help to identify the causes of the presence and absence of species, and thereby aid more effective management and restoration of degraded aquatic systems.
Flow velocity tolerance of lowland stream caddisfly larvae (Trichoptera)
Brouwer, J.H.F. de; Besse-Lototskaya, A.A. ; Braak, C.J.F. Ter; Kraak, M.H.S. ; Verdonschot, P.F.M. - \ 2017
Aquatic Sciences 79 (2017)3. - ISSN 1015-1621 - p. 419 - 425.
Drift - Flow velocity - Lowland streams - Return rates - Trichoptera
The process of macroinvertebrate drift in streams is characterized by dislodgement, drift distance and subsequent return to the bottom. While dislodgement is well studied, the fate of drifting organisms is poorly understood, especially concerning Trichoptera. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to determine the ability of six case-building Trichoptera species to return to the stream bottom under different flow velocity conditions in a laboratory flume. The selected species occur in North-West European sandy lowland streams along a gradient from lentic to lotic environments. We determined species specific probability curves for both living and dead (control) specimens to return to the bottom from drift at different flow velocities and established species specific return rates. Species on the lotic end of the gradient had highest return rates at high flow velocity and used active behaviour most efficiently to return to the bottom from drift. The observed gradient of flow velocity tolerance and species specific abilities to settle from drift indicate that, in addition to dislodgement, the process of returning to the bottom is of equal importance in determining flow velocity tolerance of Trichoptera species.
Early plant recruitment stages set the template for the development of vegetation patterns along a hydrological gradient
Fraaije, Rob G.A. ; Braak, C.J.F. ter; Verduyn, Betty ; Breeman, Leonieke B.S. ; Verhoeven, Jos T.A. ; Soons, Merel B. - \ 2015
Functional Ecology 29 (2015)7. - ISSN 0269-8463 - p. 971 - 980.
Biodiversity - Colonization - Environmental filtering - Lowland streams - Niche segregation - Plant community assembly - Riparian zones - Wetland restoration
Recruitment processes are critical components of a plant's life cycle. However, in comparison with later stages in the plant life cycle (e.g. competition among adults), relatively little is known about their contribution to the regulation of plant species distribution. Particularly, little is known about the individual contributions of the three main recruitment processes - germination, seedling survival and seedling growth - to community assembly, while quantitative information on these contributions is essential for a more mechanistic understanding of the regulation of plant species distribution and biodiversity. Riparian zones along streams provide a globally-relevant case study for evaluating the importance of the different stages of plant recruitment. The natural hydrological gradients of stream riparian zones are currently being restored after a period of world-wide habitat degradation. To identify how recruitment contributes to vegetation patterns and biodiversity in riparian zones, we carried out field experiments at restored lowland streams. We quantified the germination of introduced seeds, and survival and growth of introduced seedlings of 17 riparian plant species across a gradient from the stream channel to upland. The hydrological gradient of riparian zones acted as a strong environmental filter on all three recruitment processes, through imposing an abiotic limitation (excess water) at low elevations and a resource limitation (water shortage) at higher elevations. Other variables, such as soil organic matter content and nutrient availability, only affected recruitment marginally. Species-specific patterns of environmental filtering initiated niche segregation along the riparian gradient during all three recruitment processes, but particularly during germination and seedling growth. These recruitment niches appeared strongly related to indicator values for adult distribution optima, suggesting that at least some riparian plant species may have evolutionary adaptations that promote recruitment under favourable hydrological conditions for adult growth and reproduction. Our results suggest that strong environmental filtering during germination and seedling growth plays an important role in determining later adult distributions, by forming the spatial template on which all subsequent processes operate. In addition to well-known mechanisms, such as competitive exclusion at the adult stage, environmental filtering during early recruitment stages already strongly affect plant distribution and diversity.
Morphological assessment of reconstructed lowland streams in the Netherlands
Eekhout, J.P.C. ; Hoitink, Ton ; Brouwer, J.H.F. de; Verdonschot, P.F.M. - \ 2015
Advances in Water Resources 81 (2015). - ISSN 0309-1708 - p. 161 - 171.
Lowland streams - Morphodynamics - Re-meandering - Stream restoration - Water management
Channelisation measures taken halfway the 20th century have had destructive consequences for the diversity of the ecology in the majority of the lowland streams in countries such as the Netherlands. Re-meandering is the common practice in restoring these lowland streams. Three reconstructed streams were monitored during the initial two years after construction of a new channel. The monitoring program included morphological surveys, sediment sampling, habitat pattern surveys, and discharge and water level measurements. Adjustments of the longitudinal bed profile formed the main morphological response. These adjustments were most likely caused by a lack of longitudinal connectivity of the streams as a whole, interrupting transport of sediment at locations of weirs and culverts. Bank erosion was observed only in a limited number of channel bends, and was often related to floodplain heterogeneity. Longitudinal channel bed adjustments and bank erosion were mainly caused by exogenous influences. In channel bends, the cross-sectional shape transformed from trapezoidal to the typical asymmetrical shape as found in meandering rivers. This behaviour can be attributed to an autogenous response to the prevailing flow conditions. Due to the prevailing fine sediment characteristics, bed material is readily set in motion and is being transported during the entire year. The existing design principles fail to address the initial morphological development after reconstruction. An evaluation of pre-set targets to realise water depth and flow velocity ranges shows the current procedures to be deficient. Based on this unfavourable evaluation, and the two-dimensional nature of habitat patterns needed to improve the conditions for stream organisms, we recommend to predict morphological developments as part of the design procedures for lowland stream restoration in the Netherlands.
Dispersal versus environmental filtering in a dynamic system : Drivers of vegetation patterns and diversity along stream riparian gradients
Fraaije, R.G.A. ; Braak, C.J.F. ter; Verduyn, Betty ; Verhoeven, J.T.A. ; Soons, M.B. - \ 2015
Journal of Ecology 103 (2015)6. - ISSN 0022-0477 - p. 1634 - 1646.
Community assembly - Determinants of plant community diversity and structure - Directed dispersal - Hydrological gradients - Lowland streams - Neutral versus niche - Plant diversity - Riparian vegetation - Riparian zone - Wetland restoration
Both environmental filtering and dispersal filtering are known to influence plant species distribution patterns and biodiversity. Particularly in dynamic habitats, however, it remains unclear whether environmental filtering (stimulated by stressful conditions) or dispersal filtering (during recolonization events) dominates in community assembly, or how they interact. Such a fundamental understanding of community assembly is critical to the design of biodiversity conservation and restoration strategies. Stream riparian zones are species-rich dynamic habitats. They are characterized by steep hydrological gradients likely to promote environmental filtering, and by spatiotemporal variation in the arrival of propagules likely to promote dispersal filtering. We quantified the contributions of both filters by monitoring natural seed arrival (dispersal filter) and experimentally assessing germination, seedling survival and growth of 17 riparian plant species (environmental filter) along riparian gradients of three lowland streams that were excavated to bare substrate for restoration. Subsequently, we related spatial patterns in each process to species distribution and diversity patterns after 1 and 2 years of succession. Patterns in initial seed arrival were very clearly reflected in species distribution patterns in the developing vegetation and were more significant than environmental filtering. However, environmental filtering intensified towards the wet end of the riparian gradient, particularly through effects of flooding on survival and growth, which strongly affected community diversity and generated a gradient in the vegetation. Strikingly, patterns in seed arrival foreshadowed the gradient that developed in the vegetation; seeds of species with adult optima at wetter conditions dominated seed arrival at low elevations along the riparian gradient, while seeds of species with drier optima arrived higher up. Despite previous assertions suggesting a dominance of environmental filtering, our results demonstrate that non-random dispersal may be an important driver of early successional riparian vegetation zonation and biodiversity patterns as well. Synthesis. Our results demonstrate (and quantify) the strong roles of both environmental and dispersal filtering in determining plant community assemblies in early successional dynamic habitats. Furthermore, we demonstrate that dispersal filtering can already initiate vegetation gradients, a mechanism that may have been overlooked along many environmental gradients where interspecific interactions are (temporarily) reduced. Our results demonstrate and quantify the strong roles of both environmental and dispersal filtering in determining plant community assemblies in early successional dynamic habitats. Furthermore, we demonstrate that dispersal filtering can already initiate vegetation gradients, a mechanism that may have been overlooked along many environmental gradients where interspecific interactions are (temporarily) reduced.