Local environment and space drive multiple facets of stream macroinvertebrate beta diversity


Aim - Understanding variation in biodiversity typically requires consideration of factors operating at different spatial scales. Recently, ecologists and biogeographers have recognized the need of analysing ecological communities in the light of multiple facets including not only species‐level information but also functional and phylogenetic approaches to improve our understanding of the relative contribution of processes shaping biodiversity. Here, our aim was to disentangle the relative importance of environmental variables measured at multiple levels (i.e., local, catchment, climate, and spatial variables) influencing variation in macroinvertebrate beta diversity facets (i.e., species, traits, and phylogeny) and their components (i.e., replacement and abundance difference) in boreal streams. - Taxon - Aquatic macroinvertebrates - Location - Western Finland - Methods - A total of 105 streams were sampled in western Finland, encompassing a geographical extent over 500 km. We analysed variation in the different beta diversity facets and components using distance‐based redundancy analysis and associated variation partitioning procedures. We modelled spatial structures using distance‐based Moran eigenvector maps. - Results - We found that the relative influence of explanatory variables on each diversity facet and component revealed relatively similar patterns. Our main finding was that local environmental and spatial variables generally contributed most to the total explained variability in all facets and components of beta diversity, whereas catchment and climate variables explained less variation in the beta diversity facets at the spatial scale considered in this study. - Main conclusions - Different facets of beta diversity were mainly influenced by local environmental variables and spatial structuring, likely acting through deterministic and stochastic pathways respectively. Identifying the ecological variables and mechanisms that drive variation in beta diversity may be used to guide the conservation and restoration efforts for biodiversity under global change.

Journal of Biogeography, (45), 12, pp. 2744-2754, https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.13457