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Article

Highest Composition Dissimilarity among Phytoplankton Communities at Intermediate Environmental Distances across High-Altitude Tropical Lakes

1
Microbial Ecology Group, Department F.-A. Forel for Environmental and Aquatic Sciences and Institute for Environmental Sciences, University of Geneva, 66 Boulevard Carl Vogt, 1205 Geneva, Switzerland
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Ingeniería Ambiental, Universidad Nacional de Loja, Ciudad Universitaria Guillermo Falconí, Loja 110150, Ecuador
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Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Georgia College and State University, Milledgeville, GA 31061, USA
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Centro de Investigación y Tecnología del Agua—CITA, Departamento de Ingeniería Ambiental, Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología—UTEC, Lima 15063, Peru
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Émilie Saulnier-Talbot, Isabelle Lavoie and Philippe Archambault
Water 2021, 13(10), 1378; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13101378
Received: 16 April 2021 / Revised: 9 May 2021 / Accepted: 11 May 2021 / Published: 15 May 2021
Tropical high-altitude lakes are vital freshwater ecosystems for the functioning and dynamics of tropical high-altitude wetlands called páramos, found at over 3300 m above sea level. They play a major role in the hydrogeological cycle and provide important hydrological services such as water storage, and yet they are understudied. Describing the patterns and processes of community composition in these lakes is required to better understand the consequences of their degradation by human activities. In this study we tested the geographical and environmental components of distance–decay relationships in the phytoplankton structure across 24 tropical high-altitude lakes from Southern Ecuador. Phytoplankton composition at the phyla level showed high among-lake variation in the tropical high-altitude lakes from Tres Lagunas. We found no links, however, between the geographic distance and phytoplankton composition. On the contrary, we observed some environmentally related patterns of community structure like redox potential, altitude, water temperature, and total phosphorus. The absence of support for the distance–decay relationship observed here can result from a conjunction of local niche-based effects and dispersal limitations. Phytoplankton community composition in the Tres Lagunas system or any other ecosystem may be jointly regulated by niche-based and neutral forces that still need to be explored. Despite not proving a mechanistic explanation for the observed patterns of community structure, we hope our findings provide understanding of these vulnerable and vital ecosystems. More studies in tropical high-altitude lakes are urgently required. View Full-Text
Keywords: community composition; dissimilarity; distance–decay; páramos; phytoplankton; tropical high-altitude lakes; wetlands community composition; dissimilarity; distance–decay; páramos; phytoplankton; tropical high-altitude lakes; wetlands
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cartuche, A.; Manoylov, K.M.; Ibelings, B.W.; Venail, P. Highest Composition Dissimilarity among Phytoplankton Communities at Intermediate Environmental Distances across High-Altitude Tropical Lakes. Water 2021, 13, 1378. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13101378

AMA Style

Cartuche A, Manoylov KM, Ibelings BW, Venail P. Highest Composition Dissimilarity among Phytoplankton Communities at Intermediate Environmental Distances across High-Altitude Tropical Lakes. Water. 2021; 13(10):1378. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13101378

Chicago/Turabian Style

Cartuche, Alonso, Kalina M. Manoylov, Bastiaan W. Ibelings, and Patrick Venail. 2021. "Highest Composition Dissimilarity among Phytoplankton Communities at Intermediate Environmental Distances across High-Altitude Tropical Lakes" Water 13, no. 10: 1378. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13101378

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