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8 June 2012 Geographic location alters the diversity–disturbance response
Russell G. Death, José Barquín
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Despite extensive research on the link between disturbance and diversity in ecology and several eloquent models to describe the relationship, a universally applicable model remains elusive. However, most investigations of the diversity–disturbance relationship have been limited in spatial coverage. Recent theoretical and conceptual advances in macroecology suggest that such spatially constrained studies may limit interpretation. To explore the effect of geographic location on the disturbance–diversity relationship, we examined invertebrate assemblages in streams of northern Spain and New Zealand (NZ) and in multiple regions within NZ. Habitat characteristics were similar across all sites and locations, except that undisturbed sites (springbrooks) differed from disturbed sites (rhithral streams) by having constant thermal and hydrologic regimes. The resource base and the density of invertebrates were greater in the more-stable habitats in all regions. However, patterns of invertebrate species richness differed markedly between locations in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Springbrooks in all regions within NZ had greater richness than rhithral streams. In contrast, springbrooks in Spain had considerably lower species richness than rhithral streams. Thus, low hydrological disturbance in Spain yielded low diversity, whereas in NZ it yielded high diversity. Amphipoda dominated the springbrook faunas in Spain, whereas insects dominated in NZ. Thus, differences in the diversity patterns between Spain and NZ are potentially related to phylogenetic differences or environmental constraints on life-history cues. A universal model to link disturbance and diversity is more likely to be successful if it incorporates life-history traits rather than morphological traits.

The Society for Freshwater Science
Russell G. Death and José Barquín "Geographic location alters the diversity–disturbance response," Freshwater Science 31(2), 636-646, (8 June 2012).
Received: 3 May 2011; Accepted: 13 February 2012; Published: 8 June 2012

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