Spatial uniformity in depth optima of midges: evidence from sedimentary archives of shallow Alpine and boreal lakes
AbstractIn this study, water depth optima, i.e. habitat preferences within a depth gradient, were estimated for mutual midge (Diptera: Nematocera; Ceratopogonidae, Chironomidae) taxa in surface sediment intralake data sets from eastern Finland and Austrian Alps and in a regional data set across Finland. The aim was to investigate how the optima and tolerances differ in these data sets and to discuss whether the possible causal factor for deviance is related to local adaptation, taxa representativeness, or some other factor. A total of 20 mutual taxa were found from the data sets and the estimated optima and tolerances were highly similar, with the exception of three taxa, which had deviating optima in the Austrian lake. The reason for these differences was most likely that the optima were poorly estimated in the Austrian lake due to low abundances and number of occurrences of these taxa. No evidence for intraspecific niche separation or local habitat adaptation was found between the Austrian and Finnish sites, although, interspecific variation in habitats was evident. Therefore, water depth optima estimated from representative number of specimens may be applicable for various ecological, limnological, and paleolimnological purposes. However, when the optima are applied outside the data set’s coverage, the results should be interpreted with caution. In addition, the given optima are not applicable in sites deeper than the sites in the data sets.
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