Complex effects of acidification, habitat properties and fish stock on littoral macroinvertebrate assemblages in montane standing waters

Submitted: 6 August 2021
Accepted: 6 December 2021
Published: 11 January 2022
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Littoral macroinvertebrates in acidified waterbodies are affected by the interaction of acidification and local environmental conditions. Understanding the interplay of these factors in the structuring of communities is essential for interpreting responses to and/or recovery from acidification. Here, we analyse the species composition and richness of littoral macroinvertebrates in a range of acidified montane standing waters in relation to water chemistry, littoral characteristics and fish stock. The main species composition gradients were related to pH and conductivity; however, considerable variation along these gradients was associated with local habitat characteristics (changing water levels and littoral structure) and concentration of ionic aluminium and dissolved organic carbon. Although fish stock effects were confounded by correlated acidity, we observed a significant decline in abundance of macroinvertebrates vulnerable to fish predation at sites with fish stock. Overall, littoral macroinvertebrates of acidic waterbodies were diverse due to the heterogeneity of local habitat properties, despite they were dominated by acid-tolerant species. Acidic humic sites with dense, heterogeneous littoral vegetation were species-rich, hosting numerous habitat specialists and rare species, while chronically acidified lakes with high aluminium concentrations and sparse littoral vegetation had species-poor assemblages, characteristic of strong acid-stress. Water level manipulation resulted in serious assemblage impoverishment, overriding the effects of more favourable water chemistry. This study shows that the littoral fauna of acidic waterbodies is structured by complex effects induced by local factors in addition to acidity, resulting in acid-stressed assemblages with relatively high variability, emphasising a need to analyse local habitat factors when evaluating the impact of acidification on macroinvertebrates.

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Edited by

Valeria Lencioni, Head Invertebrate Zoology and Hydrobiology Dept., MUSE-Museo delle Scienze, Trento, Italy

How to Cite

Petruželová, Jana, Jindřiška Bojková, Jan Sychra, Vanda Šorfová, Vendula Polášková, and Jaroslav Vrba. 2022. “Complex Effects of Acidification, Habitat Properties and Fish Stock on Littoral Macroinvertebrate Assemblages in Montane Standing Waters”. Journal of Limnology 81 (1). https://doi.org/10.4081/jlimnol.2022.2053.

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