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Beta Diversity Partitioning and Drivers of Variations in Fish Assemblages in a Headwater Stream: Lijiang River, China

College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Guilin University of Technology, Guilin 541004, China
Guangxi Key Laboratory of Environmental Pollution Control Theory and Technology, Guilin 541004, China
Collaborative Innovation Center for Water Pollution Control and Water Safety in Karst Area, Guilin University of Technology, Guilin 541004, China
Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Vejlsøvej 25, 8600 Silkeborg, Denmark
Sino-Danish Centre for Education and Research, Beijing 100049, China
Department of Hydrology and Water Resources Management, Kiel University, Kiel 24118, Germany
Department of Health and Environmental Sciences, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Suzhou 215123, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(4), 680;
Received: 21 January 2019 / Revised: 9 February 2019 / Accepted: 1 April 2019 / Published: 2 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trophic Interactions in Warm Freshwater Ecosystems)
PDF [3195 KB, uploaded 2 April 2019]


Beta diversity partitioning has currently received much attention in research of fish assemblages. However, the main drivers, especially the contribution of spatial and hydrological variables for species composition and beta diversity of fish assemblages are less well studied. To link species composition to multiple abiotic variables (i.e., local environmental variables, hydrological variables, and spatial variables), the relative roles of abiotic variables in shaping fish species composition and beta diversity (i.e., overall turnover, replacement, and nestedness) were investigated in the upstream Lijiang River. Species composition showed significant correlations with environmental, hydrological, and spatial variables, and variation partitioning revealed that the local environmental and spatial variables outperformed hydrological variables, and especially abiotic variables explained a substantial part of the variation in the fish composition (43.2%). The overall species turnover was driven mostly by replacement (87.9% and 93.7% for Sørensen and Jaccard indices, respectively) rather than nestedness. Mantel tests indicated that the overall species turnover (ßSOR and ßJAC) and replacement (ßSIM and ßJTU) were significantly related to hydrological, environmental, and spatial heterogeneity, whereas nestedness (ßSNE or ßJNE) was insignificantly correlated with abiotic variables (P > 0.05). Moreover, the pure effect of spatial variables on overall species turnover (ßSOR and ßJAC) and replacement (ßSIM and ßJTU), and the pure effect of hydrological variables on replacement (ßSIM and ßJTU), were not important (P > 0.05). Our findings demonstrated the relative importance of interactions among environmental, hydrological, and spatial variables in structuring fish assemblages in headwater streams; these fish assemblages tend to be compositionally distinct, rather than nested derivatives of one another. Our results, therefore, indicate that maintaining natural flow dynamics and habitat continuity are of vital importance for conservation of fish assemblages and diversity in headwater streams. View Full-Text
Keywords: fish assemblages; abiotic variables; replacement; nestedness; headwater stream fish assemblages; abiotic variables; replacement; nestedness; headwater stream

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Huang, L.; Huang, J.; Wu, Z.; Mo, Y.; Zou, Q.; Jeppesen, E.; Wu, N. Beta Diversity Partitioning and Drivers of Variations in Fish Assemblages in a Headwater Stream: Lijiang River, China. Water 2019, 11, 680.

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