Nestedness in floodplain lakes: understending the relationships between species composition and environmental characteristics

Gisele Daiane Pinha, Rafael Prandini Tramonte, Alice Michiyo Takeda


Abstract: Aim: Gradients of environmental heterogeneity perform a strong influence on the distribution of organisms and determine differences in composition, where more physically complex habitats harbor greater species richness than those simpler. We took as assumptions that differences in environmental requirements of taxa promote distinct distribution patterns which are carried through to community nestedness. Therefore, we hypothesized that more heterogeneous sites hold communities which are more nested, richer and abundant than less heterogeneous sites. Methods: We analyzed Chironomidae occurrence of 29 floodplain lakes, over a year of surveys. Analyses of variance were performed to test differences among data. To test our hypothesis, we calculated correlations between the gradients of environmental heterogeneity and Chironomidae community. Results: Highest values of all Chironomidae attributes were recorded in general to the floodplain lakes from Paraná System, mainly in September. Positive correlation between all Chironomidae attributes (i.e, richness, density, Biodiversity score and NODF index) both with PCA scores and variation coefficient values supported our initial hypothesis about the importance of environmental heterogeneity in metacommunity assembly. Conclusions: We have demonstrated we can predict how an environment will be rich in number of taxa of Chironomidae according to environmental characteristics, which contributes to future studies on composition and richness of this community. Nested distribution suggests that, despite the existence of floodplain lakes including most of the Chironomidae richness, considering the dispersal ability of species and environmental requirements, there must be a strong interaction between all environments of the area. Therefore, areas that have locations with different patterns of richness and composition are critical to maintaining the diversity of the group at the landscape level.


Biodiversity, Distribution Models, Floodplain, Metacommunity, Richness.

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