Ecology

The taxonomic and functional biogeographies of phytoplankton and zooplankton communities across boreal lakes

10.24072/pcjournal.74 - Peer Community Journal, Volume 1 (2021), article no. e69.

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Strong trophic interactions link primary producers (phytoplankton) and consumers (zooplankton) in lakes. However, the influence of such interactions on the biogeographical distribution of the taxa and functional traits of planktonic organisms in lakes has never been explicitly tested. To better understand the spatial distribution of these two major aquatic groups, we related composition across boreal lakes (104 for zooplankton and 48 for phytoplankton) in relation to a common suite of environmental and spatial factors. We then directly tested the degree of coupling in their taxonomic and functional distributions across the subset of common lakes. Although phytoplankton composition responded mainly to properties related to water quality while zooplankton composition responded more strongly to lake morphometry, we found significant coupling between their spatial distributions at taxonomic and functional levels based on a Procrustes test. This coupling was not significant after removing the effect of environmental drivers (water quality and morphometry) on the spatial distributions of the two groups. This result suggests that top-down and bottom-up effects (e.g. nutrient concentration and predation) drove trophic interactions at the landscape level. We also found a significant effect of dispersal limitation on the distribution of taxa, which could explain why coupling was stronger for taxa than for traits at the scale of this study, with a turnover of species observed between regions, but no trait turnover. Our results indicate that landscape pelagic food web responses to anthropogenic changes in ecosystem parameters should be driven by a combination of top-down and bottom-factors for taxonomic composition, but with a relative resilience in functional trait composition of lake communities.
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DOI: 10.24072/pcjournal.74
St-Gelais, Nicolas F. 1; Vogt, Richard J. 1; del Giorgio, Paul A. 1; Beisner, Beatrix E. 1

1 Interuniversity Research Group in Limnology/Groupe de Recherche Interuniversitaire en Limnologie (GRIL) and Department of Biological Sciences, University of Québec at Montréal, Montréal, QC, Canada
License: CC-BY 4.0
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St-Gelais, Nicolas F.; Vogt, Richard J.; del Giorgio, Paul A.; Beisner, Beatrix E. The taxonomic and functional biogeographies of phytoplankton and zooplankton communities across boreal lakes. Peer Community Journal, Volume 1 (2021), article  no. e69. doi : 10.24072/pcjournal.74. https://peercommunityjournal.org/articles/10.24072/pcjournal.74/

Peer reviewed and recommended by PCI : 10.24072/pci.ecology.100082

Conflict of interest of the recommender and peer reviewers:
The recommender in charge of the evaluation of the article and the reviewers declared that they have no conflict of interest (as defined in the code of conduct of PCI) with the authors or with the content of the article.

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