Despite the study of subterranean biodiversity facing harsh sampling and mapping challenges, the huge diversity of taxa, ecological adaptations and evolutionary trajectories in subterranean environments is gaining increasing attention. Yet, the spatial and environmental factors driving the composition of groundwater communities are still poorly understood. To partially fill this knowledge gap, we collected copepod crustaceans from 12 caves along the Italian peninsula between 2019 and 2022, sampling each cave twice. The resulting presence-absence data were analysed to assess: (i) between-cave taxonomic beta diversity, also partitioning between turnover and nestedness-resultant dissimilarity; (ii) the relative weight of geographic distance and climatic differences in shaping observed beta diversity. Seventy-one species of copepods were collected overall. Pairwise beta diversity was high for most pairs of caves, with turnover being the major component. Geographic distance-decay models partially explained total beta diversity and turnover patterns. However, in Generalized Dissimilarity Models (GDM), including surface climatic conditions as predictors, the contribution of seasonal temperature averages was generally higher than that of geographic distance. Further, the explanatory and predictive performance of the GDMs notably increased, along with temperature contribution, when widening the spatial extent from which climate data were gathered. Our results confirmed a high spatial turnover in groundwater copepods' assemblages and strengthened the link between regional climate and subterranean biodiversity.

Regional climate contributes more than geographic distance to beta diversity of copepods (Crustacea Copepoda) between caves of Italy

Vaccarelli, Ilaria;Fiasca, Barbara;Di Cicco, Mattia;Galassi, Diana Maria Paola;Cerasoli, Francesco
2023-01-01

Abstract

Despite the study of subterranean biodiversity facing harsh sampling and mapping challenges, the huge diversity of taxa, ecological adaptations and evolutionary trajectories in subterranean environments is gaining increasing attention. Yet, the spatial and environmental factors driving the composition of groundwater communities are still poorly understood. To partially fill this knowledge gap, we collected copepod crustaceans from 12 caves along the Italian peninsula between 2019 and 2022, sampling each cave twice. The resulting presence-absence data were analysed to assess: (i) between-cave taxonomic beta diversity, also partitioning between turnover and nestedness-resultant dissimilarity; (ii) the relative weight of geographic distance and climatic differences in shaping observed beta diversity. Seventy-one species of copepods were collected overall. Pairwise beta diversity was high for most pairs of caves, with turnover being the major component. Geographic distance-decay models partially explained total beta diversity and turnover patterns. However, in Generalized Dissimilarity Models (GDM), including surface climatic conditions as predictors, the contribution of seasonal temperature averages was generally higher than that of geographic distance. Further, the explanatory and predictive performance of the GDMs notably increased, along with temperature contribution, when widening the spatial extent from which climate data were gathered. Our results confirmed a high spatial turnover in groundwater copepods' assemblages and strengthened the link between regional climate and subterranean biodiversity.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11697/220639
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