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Environment driven changes in diversity of riparian plant communities along a mountain river

Citation

Flores-Galicia, Nihaib (2022), Environment driven changes in diversity of riparian plant communities along a mountain river, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.sf7m0cg5r

Abstract

The study of changes in species richness and composition along rivers has focused on large spatial scales. It has been ignored that in different sections of the river (high mountain area, middle zone and river mouth) the specific environmental conditions can generate different longitudinal patterns of the species richness and composition. In this study we determine if species richness and composition of the riparian plant communities change along a mountain river and if these changes are related with environmental variables. We expect an increase in species richness and turnover along the river, that the upstream communities would be a subset of the downstream communities and that such would be related to edaphic and hydrologic conditions. To test this, we sampled three strata of the riparian vegetation (upper: individuals with <1 cm of ND, middle: individuals with >1 cm of ND, low: individuals with >1 m tall) in a set 15 sites that we place along a mountain river. Additionally, we recorded topographic, hydrological, morphological, and soil variables. We performed correlation analyzes to determine if changes in species richness and turnover were related to increased distance to the origin of the river. Also, we obtained the nestedness and evaluated the importance of environmental variables with GLM, LASSO regression and CCA. With the increase in distance the species richness decreases in the upper stratum, but not in the middle and the low stratum (although the highest values were observed near the origin of the river), the turnover increase in all strata and the upstream communities were not a subset of the downstream communities. The changes in species richness and composition were related to topographic (altitude), hydrological (flow) and edaphic (conductivity and pH) variables. Our results indicate that at small spatial scales the patterns of richness and composition differ from what has been found at larger spatial scales and that these patterns are associated with environmental changes in the strong altitude gradients of mountain rivers.

Funding

Support Program for Research Projects and Technological Innovation, Award: PAPIIT IN301118

Support Program for Research Projects and Technological Innovation, Award: PAPIIT IN301118