Seasonal variability in the structure and functional diversity of psammic rotifer communities: role of environmental parameters

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Abstract

Data on the variability in structure and functioning of interstitial rotifer assemblages are rare; however, this knowledge is essential for understanding their role in the interstitial food web. In the present study, we characterized psammic rotifer communities in terms of dominance structure, trophic traits, taxonomic and functional diversity at a seasonal scale in freshwater lakes across Estonia and coastal beaches of the Baltic Sea. A total of 42 rotifer species were found from the coastal beaches and 66 species from the lakes. Functional indices did not exhibit smaller seasonal variability and neither did they respond better to changes in the environment compared to taxonomic indices. However, there were differences how environmental variables affected these two broad groups of response variables. The taxonomy-based indices of rotifer communities were primarily driven by seasonal temperature regime, sediment characteristics and anthropogenic stressors, whereas the trait-based indices were a function of ecosystem types (freshwater or brackish water). The functional indices of the psammic rotifer communities strongly distinguished between freshwater and brackish habitats indicating that rotifers have different functional roles in food webs in fresh and brackish water environments.

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Lokko, K., Virro, T., & Kotta, J. (2017). Seasonal variability in the structure and functional diversity of psammic rotifer communities: role of environmental parameters. Hydrobiologia, 796(1), 287–307. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-016-2923-3

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