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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 432:291-292 (2011)  -  DOI:

Does plankton diversity peak at intermediate salinities? Comment on Telesh et al. (2011)

Robert Ptacnik1,*, Kalle Olli2, Sirpa Lehtinen3, Timo Tamminen3, Tom Andersen4

1Institute of the Marine Environment, University of Oldenburg, Schleusenstrasse 1, 26384 Wilhelmshaven, Germany
2Institute of Ecology and Earth Sciences, University of Tartu, Lai 40, 51005 Tartu, Estonia
3Marine Research Centre, Finnish Environment Institute, PO Box 140, 00251 Helsinki, Finland
4Department of Biology, University of Oslo, PO Box 1066, Blindern, 0316 Oslo, Norway

ABSTRACT: Based on an analysis of published data, Telesh et al. (2011; Mar Ecol Prog Ser 421:1–11) claim that plankton diversity peaks at intermediate salinities in the Baltic Sea. They thereby challenge Remane’s curve, which was originally derived from observations of macrozoobenthos (Remane 1934; Zool Anz 7(Suppl):34–74), and conclude that high speciation rates allowed for development of high diversity in microscopic species in the Baltic, as opposed to larger organisms. However, instead of performing appropriate statistical analyses, Telesh et al. merely pool species lists within salinity bands, thereby obtaining patterns that reflect sampling effort rather than species richness. Moreover, Telesh et al. derive patterns of richness to a considerable extent from coastal sites, including bays and lagoons, which are not representative of the corresponding salinities in the open Baltic Sea. We propose that spatially representative data are required for elucidating patterns of plankton richness along the freshwater–marine continuum. Moreover, the analysis should address both species richness and community composition by appropriate statistical tools.

KEY WORDS: Plankton diversity · Salinity · Baltic Sea · Remane’s curve

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Cite this article as: Ptacnik R, Olli K, Lehtinen S, Tamminen T, Andersen T (2011) Does plankton diversity peak at intermediate salinities? Comment on Telesh et al. (2011). Mar Ecol Prog Ser 432:291-292.

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