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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2015

Spatial Patterns and Functional Redundancies in a Changing Boreal Lake Landscape

Angeler, David; Allen, Craig R.; Uden, Daniel R.; Johnson, Richard;


Global transformations extend beyond local habitats; therefore, larger-scale approaches are needed to assess community-level responses and resilience to unfolding environmental changes. Using long-term data (1996-2011), we evaluated spatial patterns and functional redundancies in the littoral invertebrate communities of 85 Swedish lakes, with the objective of assessing their potential resilience to environmental change at regional scales (that is, spatial resilience). Multivariate spatial modeling was used to differentiate groups of invertebrate species exhibiting spatial patterns in composition and abundance (that is, deterministic species) from those lacking spatial patterns (that is, stochastic species). We then determined the functional feeding attributes of the deterministic and stochastic invertebrate species, to infer resilience. Between one and three distinct spatial patterns in invertebrate composition and abundance were identified in approximately one-third of the species; the remainder were stochastic. We observed substantial differences in metrics between deterministic and stochastic species. Functional richness and diversity decreased over time in the deterministic group, suggesting a loss of resilience in regional invertebrate communities. However, taxon richness and redundancy increased monotonically in the stochastic group, indicating the capacity of regional invertebrate communities to adapt to change. Our results suggest that a refined picture of spatial resilience emerges if patterns of both the deterministic and stochastic species are accounted for. Spatially extensive monitoring may help increase our mechanistic understanding of community-level responses and resilience to regional environmental change, insights that are critical for developing management and conservation agendas in this current period of rapid environmental transformation.


adaptive capacity; benthic invertebrates; functional traits; global change; landscape ecology; redundancy; spatial resilience

Published in


2015, volume: 18, number: 5, pages: 889-902
Publisher: SPRINGER

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment
Allen, Craig R.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Uden, Daniel R.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment

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