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Habitat contrast among spring patches, spring brooks and nearby streams: changes in trichoptera assemblages along the gradient of mineral richness

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HUBÁČKOVÁ Lenka ZAJACOVÁ Jana HORSÁK Michal BOJKOVÁ Jindřiška

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Popis Spring fens can be classified as inland islands, due to their spatial isolation and specific, relatively stable environmental conditions. Spring fen communities consist of inter-patch dispersers (fen specialists) and matrix-derived species (habitat generalists, i.e. occupy also other aquatic habitats in the surroundings). The share of matrix-derived species is a measure of the habitat contrast between an island and its matrix, which increases along with a higher proportion of fen specialists. A strong environmental gradient playing the main role in structuring biotic communities in fens is represented by the variation in water pH and concentration of bivalent cations, i.e. the gradient of mineral richness. The whole range of this gradient occurs in the study area located in the Western Carpathians. We aim to test the hypothesis that the habitat contrast between the fen sites and the streams in surrounding matrix vary along this gradient. We also compared the contrast between streams and two spring-fen mesohabitats (i.e. spring patches and spring brooks) using Trichoptera assemblages as they express both high abundance in spring fens and a wide range of habitat specialisation. As the mesohabitats differ in their species composition and environmental conditions, a different proportion of matrix-derived species should be expected.
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