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Doctoral thesis, 2021

Resilience and stability of freshwater invertebrate communities across space and time

Fried-Petersen, Hannah


Understanding ecosystem response to environmental change is one of the biggest challenges in ecology. Studies of the biological factors and environmental drivers underpinning change in communities through space and time are essential for predicting responses to increasing anthropogenic pressures on ecosystems. Ecosystems encompass numerous interactions within and across levels of biological organization and are inextricably linked to human societies. This thesis addresses ecosystem change from the perspectives of ecological and social-ecological resilience, ecosystem stability, and adaptive capacity. Drawing on ecological resilience theory, promising methods for assessing social-ecological resilience were identified. Following this, the concept of adaptive capacity was refined, operationalized, and distinguished from ecological resilience and stability. Indicators of adaptive capacity, namely compositional stability, functional redundancy, and response diversity were measured in invertebrate communities in Swedish freshwater. I quantified drivers of stability across time and space in Swedish lakes and documented positive correlations between functional redundancy and response diversity at a broad spatial scale in Swedish streams. These indicators were influenced by physiochemical variables, and pervasive anthropogenic disturbances in the landscape. The results highlight the importance of studying long-term and spatially extensive changes in biotic communities using a framework that integrates different aspects of ecosystem resilience to environmental change.


Ecological resilience; stability; adaptive capacity; social-ecological systems; spatial ecology; functional ecology; aquatic invertebrates; disturbances

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2021, number: 2021:38
ISBN: 978-91-7760-754-0, eISBN: 978-91-7760-755-7
Publisher: Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

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