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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 627:109-123 (2019)  -  DOI:

Taxonomic and functional β-diversity patterns reveal random assembly rules in nearshore fish assemblages

Francisco Gerson Araújo1,*, Márcia Cristina Costa de Azevedo1, Rafaela de Sousa Gomes-Gonçalves1, Ana Paula Penha Guedes2

1Laboratório de Ecologia de Peixes, Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro, 23897-030, Seropédica, RJ, Brazil
2Universidade do Estado da Bahia, Campus VII, 48970-000, Senhor do Bonfim, BA, Brazil
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Evaluating β-diversity provides ecologists with a greater understanding of the processes that drive compositional variation of biological communities in ecosystems. The decomposition of taxonomic and functional β-diversity into their components of turnover (species replacement) and nestedness (species loss) was conducted for nearshore fish assemblages in 4 areas with different habitat characteristics on the southeastern Brazilian coast. We hypothesized that the environmental filtering process is occurring along a gradient of wave exposure, anthropogenic influences, sediment types and water physicochemical variables, inducing high taxonomic and functional β-diversity. Higher functional β-diversity compared to taxonomic β-diversity was found, which suggests that different species tend to play different functions, indicating taxonomically and functionally distinct assemblages. Taxonomic and functional turnover presented similar values and were both comparatively higher than nestedness, indicating the predominance of species replacement over species loss. β-diversity did not differ significantly from the null expectations of randomness, suggesting no influence of environmental filtering in the assemblages. The high nestedness in the area where anthropogenic activities are more intense suggests that only fish with the ability to tolerate harsh conditions can potentially settle there. We conclude that there is an environmental gradient that partially explains the differences in the components of functional β-diversity. However, the large unexplained part of the variation suggests that species are functionally distinct and organized at random with no influences of environmental filtering. This study helps to assess the impact of natural and human activities on the functional facets of biodiversity at the local scale.

KEY WORDS: Environmental filtering · Fish assemblages · Estuarine ecosystem · Nestedness · Null models · Spatial turnover · Soft-bottom habitats

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Cite this article as: Araújo FG, Azevedo MCC, Gomes-Gonçalves RS, Guedes APP (2019) Taxonomic and functional β-diversity patterns reveal random assembly rules in nearshore fish assemblages. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 627:109-123.

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