ABSTRACT Although it is implicit that interactions between species depend on their traits, studies on the probability of finding related species in a community are in their infancy. Community composition and species richness of predaceous diving beetles (Dytiscidae: Coleoptera) have been used as indicators of freshwater ecosystem function yet no incorporation of phylogenetic relationships of coexisting dytiscids has been attempted to date. Improved knowledge of phylogenetic relationships and phylogenetic community structure analysis methods may provide additional insight into the relationships between community composition and species richness, thus impacting our interpretation of aquatic indicator species metrics. Here, we use museum records of dytiscid beetles in 53 lakes of Alberta, Canada to: (1) compile a supertree of dytiscid beetles that live in the province, (2) examine whether coexisting dytiscids tend to be more or less related than expected by chance, and (3) examine whether phylogenetic structuring depends on species richness or mean size of coexisting species. We find that, although the majority of dytiscid assemblages exhibited phylogenetic clustering, the extent to which this occurred depended on the mean size of dytiscids. We discuss the potential mechanisms and implications of the observed patterns in phylogenetic clustering, along with data that would further improve our understanding of community dynamics in dytiscid beetles.
Diversity and Distributions – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2007
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