Understanding trait selection factors is vital for decoding the processes shaping species’ assemblages. However, trait-based studies in freshwater crustacean copepod assemblages are scarce, especially in groundwater environments. We explored how environmental filtering influences functional traits in copepod assemblages across four freshwater habitats (an alluvial aquifer, a hyporheic zone, a stream benthic zone and a lake littoral) along a depth gradient. Each habitat had distinct environmental templates based on light, temperature and dissolved oxygen. We analysed 4898 individuals from 43 copepod species and examined 12 morphological and life history traits. The results revealed significant differences in copepod traits among habitats, notably in ovigerous female biomass, egg biomass and ovigerous female percentages. Furthermore, despite some statistical uncertainty, notable differences were also observed in the number of juveniles, male-to-female abundance ratios and overall biomass. No significant differences were observed in juvenile biomass, egg characteristics, body size dimorphism or juvenile-to-adult ratios among habitats. The trait variations offer insights into copepod-mediated ecosystem services, particularly carbon recycling. To gain a deeper understanding of copepod adaptations to environmental features and anthropogenic changes, future research should consider additional functional traits, such as locomotion and feeding habits.

Variation in Copepod Morphological and Life History Traits along a Vertical Gradient of Freshwater Habitats

Tabilio Di Camillo, Agostina;Di Cicco, Mattia;
2023-01-01

Abstract

Understanding trait selection factors is vital for decoding the processes shaping species’ assemblages. However, trait-based studies in freshwater crustacean copepod assemblages are scarce, especially in groundwater environments. We explored how environmental filtering influences functional traits in copepod assemblages across four freshwater habitats (an alluvial aquifer, a hyporheic zone, a stream benthic zone and a lake littoral) along a depth gradient. Each habitat had distinct environmental templates based on light, temperature and dissolved oxygen. We analysed 4898 individuals from 43 copepod species and examined 12 morphological and life history traits. The results revealed significant differences in copepod traits among habitats, notably in ovigerous female biomass, egg biomass and ovigerous female percentages. Furthermore, despite some statistical uncertainty, notable differences were also observed in the number of juveniles, male-to-female abundance ratios and overall biomass. No significant differences were observed in juvenile biomass, egg characteristics, body size dimorphism or juvenile-to-adult ratios among habitats. The trait variations offer insights into copepod-mediated ecosystem services, particularly carbon recycling. To gain a deeper understanding of copepod adaptations to environmental features and anthropogenic changes, future research should consider additional functional traits, such as locomotion and feeding habits.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11575/139720
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