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Ecological contrast of spring fens for caddisflies: changes in specialists/generalists ratio along the mineral richness gradient

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Rok publikování 2013
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Popis Spring fens, fed by mineral-rich groundwater, are mostly small and isolated habitat islands of specific environmental conditions. We can consider these habitat patches as „islands“, surrounded by a matrix of terrestrial habitats and other aquatic habitats. These island-like habitats can be colonized by specialists from other spring fens (interpatch dispersers) and by generalists from an adjacent matrix (matrix-derived species). The share of matrix-derived species is a measure of contrast between a matrix and an island. The main environmental gradient, determining the richness and composition of species assemblages in spring fens, is the gradient of mineral richness (i.e. poor-rich gradient). It goes from acidic, mineral-poor bogs to extremely mineral-rich tufa forming fens. A change in ecological contrast for various aquatic invertebrates along this gradient can be expected, where the highest contrast should be at the ends of the gradient being the most ecologically different form the matrix habitats. This study is conducted in the Western Carpathians, as all types of spring fens along the whole range of the poor-rich gradient are presented there. It this presentation we focused specifically on caddisflies (Trichoptera), which includes species with very good dispersal abilities (e.g. Potamophylax nigricornis) and also species that are supposed as rather poor dispersers (e.g. Ernodes articularis). We hypothesise that the ecological contrast become more important as species dispersal ability decreases. This research is supported by the Czech Science Foundation (project no. P505/11/0779) and MUNI/A/0757/2012.
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