Influence of succession on fish assemblages in pond metacommunities

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dc.contributor.advisor Howeth, Jennifer G. Olinger, Charles 2018-12-14T18:11:41Z 2018-12-14T18:11:41Z 2018
dc.identifier.other u0015_0000001_0003062
dc.identifier.other Olinger_alatus_0004M_13580
dc.description Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
dc.description.abstract Metacommunity ecology focuses on the influence of regional and local processes structuring sets of communities, and theory predicts that the relative importance of those processes will change over time since initiation of community assembly. Determining the effects of regional and local processes on species and trait diversity over succession in metacommunities remains largely unaddressed to date, yet could confer an improved mechanistic understanding of community assembly. To test theoretical predictions of the increasing importance of local processes over succession in metacommunities, we evaluated fish species and functional trait diversity and dispersion in three pond metacommunities undergoing succession from beaver (Castor canadensis) disturbance. Additionally, processes influencing taxonomic and functional diversity in pond communities were contrasted with reference stream communities. The beaver modified habitats exhibited different environmental conditions by successional stage. Pond area and maximum water depth significantly increased with the number of years since pond formation. Further, ponds were deeper and warmer than streams. Species and functional richness was greater, and beta diversity was lower, in ponds than in streams. Diversity measures among pond age classes differed less than between ponds and streams, but indicated a decline in species and functional diversity and reduced community turnover later in succession. There was no influence of habitat type on functional dispersion. The analyses of the relative importance of regional and local processes over succession suggest that habitat age and dispersal were more important than local processes in structuring fish assemblages in pond metacommunities. The relative contributions were metacommunity and temporal scale-dependent as habitat age effects were only dominant in the longest chronosequence represented in the region. Counter to predictions, local environmental processes became less important in structuring pond communities over later successional stages but did exert a stronger effect on trait sorting in older ponds. In contrast to the temporal and spatial effects operating in the successional pond metacommunity mosaics, local processes primarily structured species and trait diversity in the streams. Together, the results of this study highlight that community and, subsequently, metacommunity structure can be shaped by succession mediated shifts among regional and local structuring processes in landscapes experiencing locally heterogeneous disturbance.
dc.format.extent 77 p.
dc.format.medium electronic
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language English
dc.language.iso en_US
dc.publisher University of Alabama Libraries
dc.relation.ispartof The University of Alabama Electronic Theses and Dissertations
dc.relation.ispartof The University of Alabama Libraries Digital Collections
dc.relation.hasversion born digital
dc.rights All rights reserved by the author unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subject.other Environmental science
dc.title Influence of succession on fish assemblages in pond metacommunities
dc.type thesis
dc.type text University of Alabama. Department of Biological Sciences Biological Sciences The University of Alabama master's M.S.

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