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Open AccessArticle

Diatom Species Richness in Swiss Springs Increases with Habitat Complexity and Elevation

Aachwiesen 8, 8599 Salmsach, Switzerland
Departement of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, University of Zurich, Zollikerstrasse 107, 8008 Zurich, Switzerland
Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Zürcherstrasse 111, 8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland
MUSE-Museo delle Scienze, Limnology & Phycology Section, Corso del Lavoro e della Scienza 3, 38123 Trento, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(2), 449;
Received: 31 December 2019 / Revised: 26 January 2020 / Accepted: 3 February 2020 / Published: 7 February 2020
Understanding the drivers of species richness gradients is a central challenge of ecological and biodiversity research in freshwater science. Species richness along elevational gradients reveals a great variety of patterns. Here, we investigate elevational changes in species richness and turnover between microhabitats in near-natural spring habitats across Switzerland. Species richness was determined for 175 subsamples from 71 near-natural springs, and Poisson regression was applied between species richness and environmental predictors. Compositional turnover was calculated between the different microhabitats within single springs using the Jaccard index based on observed species and the Chao index based on estimated species numbers. In total, 539 diatom species were identified. Species richness increased monotonically with elevation. Habitat diversity and elevation explaining some of the species richness per site. The Jaccard index for the measured compositional turnover showed a mean similarity of 70% between microhabitats within springs, whereas the Chao index which accounts for sampling artefacts estimated a turnover of only 37%. Thus, the commonly applied method of counting 500 valves led to an undersampling of the rare species and might need to be reconsidered when assessing diatom biodiversity. View Full-Text
Keywords: rare species; biodiversity; microhabitats; environmental determinants rare species; biodiversity; microhabitats; environmental determinants
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Taxböck, L.; Karger, D.N.; Kessler, M.; Spitale, D.; Cantonati, M. Diatom Species Richness in Swiss Springs Increases with Habitat Complexity and Elevation. Water 2020, 12, 449.

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