The species composition and abundance of epiphytic fauna inhabiting common reed (Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ex Steud.) was performed in five coastal lakes in Słowiński National Park (southern Baltic coast in northern Poland). The lakes represent a salinity gradient (from freshwater to β-oligohaline waters) and four types of coastal lakes: (1) lagoon, L (Lake Łebsko, seawater enters it permanently); (2) coastal lake with periodically brackish water, CLB (Lake Gardno); (3) freshwater costal lake, CLF (Lake Smołdzińskie); and (4) coastal dune lakes, CLD (Dołgie Wielkie and Dołgie Małe). Using statistical ordination techniques, we found that the structure of epiphytic fauna (microinvertebrates and macroinvertebrates) is determined primarily by hydrological connectivity (water exchange) with the sea. Canonical Correspondence Analysis, coupled with variance partitioning, showed that hydrological connectivity accounted for 24% of the variation in the invertebrate community, followed by physico-chemical (19%) and trophic (8%) factors. Our results indicate that the assemblages of Ciliata-libera and Cnidaria are characteristic for L (β-oligohaline), Rotifera, Suctoria, Chaetogaster sp., Gastropoda and Trichoptera are characteristic for CLB (limnetic/β-oligohaline), but no taxonomic groups are characteristic for CLF and CLD (both limnetic). The index of multivariate dispersion showed a decreasing trend with the increasing lake isolation from the open sea, except for CLD. However, in terms of the structure of epiphytic fauna, Multi-Response Permutation Procedures showed that CLD significantly differed only from CLB. Our results suggest that the identified characteristic taxonomic groups of plant-associated macroinvertebrates have a high potential to be used as bioindicators of salinity and water exchange with the sea, due to their sensitivity to environmental stress.
Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science – Elsevier
Published: Oct 15, 2017
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