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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 396:283-292 (2009)  -  DOI:

Additive partitioning of estuarine benthic macroinvertebrate diversity across multiple spatial scales

Alf B. Josefson*

National Environmental Research Institute, Aarhus University, Frederiksborgvej 399, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark

ABSTRACT: Knowledge of how diversity changes across spatial scales is important for conservation of biodiversity. Alpha (α), beta (β) and gamma (γ) species richness and Shannon-Wiener diversity index (H’) of benthic macroinvertebrates were analysed by additive partitioning across 3 different nested spatial scales (cm, m and km scales) in the estuarine Baltic Sea–North Sea transition area. The data set consisted of abundance of 324 species from a total of 638 samples taken at 64 sites distributed over 6 salinity-defined regions. Results were compared to a null model, randomly assigning individuals of species among samples. β-richness among regions was significantly high and the major contributor to γ-richness, while α- and β-richness were less than expected at finer scales, suggesting that salinity-defined regions largely determined γ-richness. Salinity effects on α-richness were positive and most evident at a regional scale, likely reflecting differential evolutionary adaptation to salinity among species. For H’, the greatest contribution to γ-diversity was from α and β at the finest scale, but significantly high contributions at larger scales likely indicated that different species dominated abundance in different sites and regions. Effects of rare species on partitioning of total richness was less different from random, compared to common species, for β among regions, suggesting that the occurrence of rare species was more affected by chance than for common species. Results suggest that additive partitioning is a simple and effective tool to unravel changes and sources in diversity over spatial scales in marine and/or estuarine benthic environments. This method may be used to assess effects of habitat homogenisation and as a basis for the design of conservation protocols.

KEY WORDS: Additive partitioning · α-diversity · β-diversity · γ-diversity · Species richness · Rare species · Macroinvertebrates · Salinity

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Cite this article as: Josefson AB (2009) Additive partitioning of estuarine benthic macroinvertebrate diversity across multiple spatial scales. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 396:283-292.

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