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Responses of multiple structural and functional indicators along three contrasting disturbance gradients

Truchy, Amélie and Sponseller, Ryan A. and Ecke, Frauke and Angeler, David G. and Angeler, David and Kahlert, Maria and Bundschuh, Mirco and Johnson, Richard and Mckie, Brendan (2022). Responses of multiple structural and functional indicators along three contrasting disturbance gradients. Ecological Indicators. 135 , 108514
[Research article]

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Abstract

Ecosystem functioning and community structure are recognized as key components of ecosystem integrity, but comprehensive, standardized studies of the responses of both structural and functional indicators to different types of anthropogenic pressures remain rare. Consequently, we lack an empirical basis for (i) identifying when monitoring ecosystem structure alone misses important changes in ecosystem functioning, (ii) recommending sets of structural and functional metrics best suited for detecting ecological change driven by different anthropogenic pressures, and (iii) understanding the cumulative effects of multiple, co-occurring stressors on structure and function. We investigated variation in community structure and ecosystem functioning of stream ecosystems along three gradients (10-16 independent stream sites each) of increasing impact arising from agriculture, forestry and river regulation for hydropower, respectively. For each stream, we quantified variation in (i) the abiotic environment, (ii) community composition of four organism groups and (iii) three basal ecosystem processes underpinning carbon and nutrient cycling in streams. We assessed the responsiveness of multiple biodiversity, community structure and ecosystem functioning indicators based on variance explained and effect size metrics. Along a gradient of increasing agricultural impact, diatoms and fish were the most responsive groups overall, but significant variation was detected in at least one aspect of community composition, abundance and/ or biodiversity of every organism group . In contrast, most of our functional metrics did not vary significantly along the agricultural gradient, possibly due to contrasting, antagonistic effects of increasing nutrient concentrations and turbidity on ecosystem process rates. The exception was detritivore-mediated litter decomposition which increased up to moderate levels of nutrient. Impacts of river regulation were most marked for diatoms, which were responsive to both increasingly frequent hydropeaking and to increasing seasonal river regulation. Among functional indicators, both litter decomposition and algal biomass accrual declined significantly with increasing hydropeaking. Few structural or functional metrics varied with forest management, with macroinvertebrate diversity increasing along the forestry gradient, as did algal and fungal biomass accrual. Together, these findings highlight the challenges of making inferences about the impacts of anthropogenic disturbances at the ecosystem level based on community data alone, and pinpoint the need to identify optimal sets of functional and structural indicators best suited for detecting ecological changes associated with different human activities.

Authors/Creators:Truchy, Amélie and Sponseller, Ryan A. and Ecke, Frauke and Angeler, David G. and Angeler, David and Kahlert, Maria and Bundschuh, Mirco and Johnson, Richard and Mckie, Brendan
Title:Responses of multiple structural and functional indicators along three contrasting disturbance gradients
Series Name/Journal:Ecological Indicators
Year of publishing :2022
Volume:135
Article number:108514
Number of Pages:13
Publisher:ELSEVIER
ISSN:1470-160X
Language:English
Publication Type:Research article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 106 Biological Sciences (Medical to be 3 and Agricultural to be 4) > Ecology
Keywords:Agriculture, Community structure, Ecosystem functioning, Forestry, Multiple stressors, River regulation
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-116603
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-116603
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.1016/j.ecolind.2021.108514
Web of Science (WoS)000761396600001
ID Code:27584
Faculty:NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
S - Faculty of Forest Sciences
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment
(S) > Dept. of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:20 Apr 2022 12:25
Metadata Last Modified:20 Apr 2022 12:31

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