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Spatially dependent relationships between environmental factors and phytobenthic communities along the Swedish coast of the Baltic Sea, a numeric model approach
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Systems Ecology. (Marin ekologi)
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Systems Ecology. (Marin ekologi)
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Systems Ecology. (Marin ekotoxikologi)
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(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The phytobenthic plant and animal communities are important components in the Baltic Sea ecosystem. In order to properly manage and monitor these communities the knowledge of structuring factors is important. In this study we used multivariate analyses to test the relative importance of environmental variables structuring the phytobenthic communities along the Swedish Baltic Sea coast, how the importance of these factors change with spatial scale and between the three main Baltic Sea sub-basins, the Baltic proper, Bothnian Sea and Bothnian Bay. We also studied the effect of these environmental factors for different species groups. The environmental factors included were salinity, wave exposure, substrate slope, depth and substrate type. For the analysis a large dataset of 1362 diving transects performed with comparable methods was used, describing the phytobenthic plant and animal species depth distribution and coverage. The environmental factors changed in importance at the different scales. The community-environment relationships also differed between the sub-basins, especially in the Bothnian Bay compared to the Baltic proper and Bothnian Sea. In the calculated best combination of factors correlating with the phytobenthic community the depth and the substrate were included in a majority of the analyses, both at different scales and in the different sub-basins. Differences in the correlation between the phytobenthic community and the environmental factors were also found between species groups. The differences between the spatial scales, the sub-basins and the species groups indicate that the criteria for environmental status, and stratification of sampling during local monitoring assessments, have to be area specific.

National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Marine Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-54355OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-54355DiVA: diva2:393438
Available from: 2011-01-31 Created: 2011-01-31 Last updated: 2011-01-31Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Modelling spatial and temporal species distribution in the Baltic Sea phytobenthic zone
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Modelling spatial and temporal species distribution in the Baltic Sea phytobenthic zone
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Statistical modelling is often used to relate the presence or abundance of species to environmental predictors, thereby providing a basis for predictive mapping of species or biodiversity. The variables included must thus be relevant and reflect actual changes in the environment. Therefore, the quantification of species–environment relationships is an important aspect of predictive modelling.

This thesis examines how phytobenthic species or communities in the Baltic Sea relate to environmental gradients, and if different aspects of phytobenthic species distribution in the Baltic Sea could be explained by spatial or temporal variation in environmental factors. Predictive distribution modelling usually focuses on how environmental variables control the distribution of species or communities. Thus the relative weight of the predictor variables on different scales is of importance. In this thesis, I show that the relative importance of environmental variables depends both on geographic scale and location, and that it also differs between species or species groups.

There are no simple explanations to the temporal variability in species occurrence. I here show that the temporal changes in species distribution within the phytobentic zone varies in a spatial context. I also try to find temporal and spatio-temporal patterns in species distribution that could be related to changes in climate or anthropogenic disturbance. However, the findings in this thesis suggest that single factor explanations are insufficient for explaining large-scale changes in species distribution. A greater understanding of the relationship between species and their environment will lead to the development of more sensitive models of species distributions. The predictions can be used to visualise spatial changes in the distribution of plant and animal communities over time.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Systems Ecology, Stockholm University, 2011. 38 p.
Keyword
species distribution modelling, niche, gradient, prediction, environmental factors, phytobenthos, scale
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Marine Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-54269 (URN)978-91-7447-230-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-03-04, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 09:30 (English)
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Supervisors
Note
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Submitted. Paper 3: Manuscript. Paper 4: Manuscript. Paper 5: Manuscript.Available from: 2011-02-10 Created: 2011-01-27 Last updated: 2011-01-31Bibliographically approved

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Wallin, AndersNyström Sandman, AntoniaKautsky, Hans
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