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Research article2014Peer reviewed

Congruence between functional and taxonomic patterns of benthic and planktonic assemblages in flatland ponds

Trigal, Cristina; Fernandez-Alaez, Camino; Fernandez-Alaez, Margarita


Using data from 31 ponds, we investigated the importance of environmental (e.g. habitat complexity, nutrient content, pH) and biotic factors (i.e. fish predation) on the spatial patterns of planktonic (phytoplankton and zooplankton) and benthic (macroinvertebrates) assemblages. We also evaluated the degree of concordance among assemblages and between the functional and taxonomic composition of assemblages, and test the hypothesis that surrogates of biodiversity (e.g. taxonomic or functional groups) can be used in pond conservation and biomonitoring studies. We found that the spatial patterns of benthic and pelagic assemblages were determined by macrophyte coverage, water quality and, to a lesser extent, fish. However, shifts in the taxonomic and functional composition were not congruent. Moreover, local environmental variation was slightly more important for the taxonomic than the functional composition of assemblages, except for phytoplankton. The degree of concordance among assemblages was also weak, which may be partly due to the fact that species respond individualistically to environmental variation. These findings also suggest that the coupling between benthic and pelagic habitats in flatland ponds is weak, and that the use of surrogate measures or indicator groups in pond conservation studies may not be appropriate.


Ponds; Phytoplankton; Macroinvertebrates; Zooplankton; Biodiversity

Published in

Aquatic Sciences - Research Across Boundaries
2014, Volume: 76, number: 1, pages: 61-72

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Environmental Sciences

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