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Data from: Beta diversity of aquatic invertebrates increases along an altitudinal gradient in a Neotropical mountain


Castro, Diego M.P. et al. (2019), Data from: Beta diversity of aquatic invertebrates increases along an altitudinal gradient in a Neotropical mountain, Dryad, Dataset,


Mountains harbor rich biodiversity and high levels of endemism, particularly due to changes in environmental conditions over short spatial distances, which affects species distribution and composition. Studies on mountain ecosystems are increasingly needed, as mountains are highly threatened despite providing ecosystem services, such as water supply for half of the human population. We aimed to understand the patterns and drivers of alpha and beta diversities of aquatic invertebrates in headwater streams along an altitudinal gradient in the second largest South American mountain range, the Espinhaço mountains. Headwater streams were selected at each 100 m of elevation along an altitudinal gradient ranging from 800 to 1400 m asl, where three substrate types per stream were sampled: leaf litter, gravel, and cobbles. Environmental variables were sampled to represent local riparian canopy cover, instream physical habitat, water quality, climatic data, and land use. Generalized linear models and mixed models were used to test relationships between altitude and the richness and abundance of invertebrates and to assess the influence of environmental variables on the same metrics. Patterns of spatial variation in aquatic invertebrate assemblages along the altitudinal gradient were assessed using multiplicative beta diversity partitioning. The richness and abundance of aquatic invertebrates decreased with increasing altitude, whereas beta diversity increased with increasing altitude. Significant differences in assemblage composition and in relative abundance of invertebrates were observed for both substrates and altitude. We thus show that the high regional beta-diversity in aquatic ecosystems in the studied site are due to the high turnover among areas.

Usage Notes


South America
rupestrian grassland
Serra do Cipó
Espinhaço Mountain Range