A Functional Approach Reveals Zooplankton Responses to Environmental Change in Mountain Lakes

  • Author / Creator
    Redmond, Laura E
  • Concern is increasing over the future cumulative impacts of multiple stressors on freshwater biodiversity and ecosystem function, especially in alpine environments where climatic warming increases with elevation. Here, consideration of individual species traits enables translation of changes in biodiversity into functional responses by communities to environmental change. I integrated data for 170 mountain lakes and ponds spanning large latitudinal (2276 km) and elevational (1959 m) gradients across the mountains of Western Canada to assess how climatic and other environmental factors affect the taxonomic composition and functional structure of zooplankton communities. Unconstrained ordination and RLQ analyses revealed that certain functional groups consisting of relatively small-bodied, shoreline-associated (littoral) species were significantly associated with several climatically dependent environmental changes, namely higher water temperatures, shallower water depths, and lower ionic concentrations. My findings highlight how species turnover (beta-diversity) in shrinking alpine lakes will depend on limited dispersal from nearby ponds or lower montane elevations as environmental conditions become more variable in a warmer and drier climate.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2017
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.