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Influence of environmental stability on microcrustacean assemblages in Western Carpathian spring-fens

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VÝRAVSKÝ David ZHAI Marie KLÍMOVÁ HŘÍVOVÁ Dana BOJKOVÁ Jindřiška HORSÁK Michal POLÁŠKOVÁ Vendula POLÁŠEK Marek

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Popis In this study we have evaluated the environmental stability, characterized as water and temperature regime, in 34 spring fens in the Western Carpathians, and its influence on microcrustacean assemblages (Ostracods, Harpacticoids). Altogether 20 ostracod and 19 harpacticoid taxa were found at the 34 spring fens during one shot sampling in June 2008, 2011 and 2012. The median number of species per site was 7 and the median total abundance was 236 individuals. Water temperature was recorded every 30 min for 24 months and water levels were measured manually six times (April 2016 to April 2018). The spring fens differed in thermal stability: stable sites were situated only in colder climatic areas, while fluctuating sites were scattered along the whole climatic gradient. Temperature and water regime (i.e., mean July water temperature, surface water depth) were the most significant variables influencing microcrustacean assemblages. Their effects were only partly shared with other environmental variables (Ca+Mg content, nutrients and mean January air temperature). Two groups of species according to their specialization were identified: a) species with a relatively high affinity to spring habitat, which prevailed at the stable sites, and b) ubiquitous species, which were constricted almost only to the fluctuating sites, i.e. sites that warmed up in summer. We suggest that the “ubiquitous” species are weaker competitors in the stable environment.