Hydrological gradient and species traits explain gastropod diversity in floodplain grasslands

Ilg, Christiane (UFZ-Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Department of Conservation Biology, Leipzig, Germany ; School of Engineering, Architecture and Landscape (hepia), HES-SO // University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland) ; Foeckler, Francis (ÖKON, Ltd, Association for Landscape Ecology, Limnology and Environmental Planning, Rohrbach, Kallmünz, Germany) ; Deichner, Oskar (ÖKON, Ltd, Association for Landscape Ecology, Limnology and Environmental Planning, Rohrbach, Kallmünz, Germany) ; Henle, Klaus (UFZ-Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Department of Conservation Biology, Leipzig, Germany)

Floodplains are characterized by high spatial and temporal heterogeneity. Despite low active mobility, Central European floodplain gastropod communities show a high species diversity. They are supposed to have developed a large range of resistance and/or resilience strategies to survive in the highly variable and frequently disturbed floodplain habitats. Relating gastropod diversity and species traits to hydrological conditions, we tested how different groundwater and flood regimes affect gastropod diversity and identified the main species traits favouring their survival in highly dynamic floodplain grasslands. Species richness, species diversity and functional diversity peaked at intermediate flood disturbance and moisture levels. Harsher environmental conditions in either dryer or frequently flooded habitats restricted the gastropod communities to a few specialized species. Morphological and life‐history traits showed significant variations along the hydrological gradient. Shell character and mode of reproduction proved to be important functional determinants for gastropod community composition. Species with strongly calcified shells, which limit the risk of injuries in case of dislodgment, were more often found in flood prone sites. Uniparental reproduction dominated in the driest as well as in highly flood‐disturbed habitats, providing reproductive assurance where harsh environmental conditions may reduce the number of potential mates. Intermediate disturbance and moisture levels favoured local gastropod diversity whereas dryer or highly flood‐disturbed habitats sheltered specialized species. Therefore, the maintenance of areas with different disturbance and moisture levels is of major importance in favouring taxonomical and functional mollusc diversity across the whole floodplain.


Article Type:
scientifique
Faculty:
Ingénierie et Architecture
School:
HEPIA - Genève
Institute:
inTNE - Institut Terre-Nature-Environnement
Date:
2011-07
Pagination:
10 p.
Published in:
River Research and Applications
Numeration (vol. no.):
2012, vol. 28, pp. 1620-1629
DOI:
ISSN:
1535-1459
Appears in Collection:

Note: The status of this file is: restricted


 Record created 2020-08-13, last modified 2020-10-27

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