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Data from: Elements of metacommunity structure of diatoms and macroinvertebrates within stream networks differing in environmental heterogeneity


He, Siwen et al. (2021), Data from: Elements of metacommunity structure of diatoms and macroinvertebrates within stream networks differing in environmental heterogeneity, Dryad, Dataset,


Aim: Idealized metacommunity structures (i.e. checkerboard, random, quasi-structures, nested, Clementsian, Gleasonian, and evenly spaced) have recently gained increasing attention, but their relationships with environmental heterogeneity and how they vary with organism groups remain poorly understood. Here we tested two main hypotheses: (1) gradient-driven patterns (Clementsian and Gleasonian) occur frequently in heterogeneous environments, and (2) small organisms (here, diatoms) are more likely to exhibit gradient-driven patterns than large organisms (here, macroinvertebrates).

Location: Streams in three regions in China.

Taxon: Diatoms and macroinvertebrates.

Methods: The stream diatom and macroinvertebrate data, as well as the environmental data collected from the same set of sites were used to examine the idealized metacommunity structures via the elements of the metacommunity structure (EMS; coherence, turnover, and boundary clumping) analysis in three regions. We extended the traditional EMS approach by ordering sites along known environmental gradients.

Results: We found that Clementsian structure with high degrees of coherence and turnover, and significantly positive clumping was typically observed in the high-heterogeneity regions, whereas randomness was prevalent in the low-heterogeneity region. Macroinvertebrates exhibited clearer Clementsian structures compared with diatoms, while diatoms showed more randomness compared with macroinvertebrates, indicating a stronger role of environmental filtering for macroinvertebrates than diatoms. In most cases, the results of the more novel EMS approach differed from the results of the traditional EMS technique.

Main Conclusions: Our results suggested that the occurrence of different metacommunity structures may be related with the degree of regional environmental heterogeneity. However, diatom metacommunities were more random than those of macroinvertebrate, and such an unexpected result may result from different dispersal abilities between the two organism groups. In addition, we found that the novel EMS approach increased power in discerning metacommunity structure in comparison to the traditional EMS technique.

Usage Notes

He et al_Journal of Biogeography

Data are compiled in an Excel spreadsheet with 3 tabs containing the following information: 1) Presence-absence diatom species dataset, 2) Presence-absence macroinvertebrate taxon dataset, 3) Environmental dataset.