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How do biodiversity patterns of river animals emerge from the distributions of common and rare species?

Abstract : We studied the patterns of commonness and rarity for one vertebrate (fish) and four freshwater insect taxa (Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, Trichoptera and Coleoptera) in southwestern France (57,000 km²), and we analysed the relationships between the location of sites and the contribution of commonness and rarity to species richness within a large stream system. Richness patterns in fish and aquatic insects were related to the location of sites within the stream system. The number of common and rare fish species increased from up- to downstream areas as a result of downstream additions of species. The number of common insect species peaked in the intermediate section of the river continuum, whereas rarity increased with decreasing elevation. In all taxa, common species gave a closer approximation to overall patterns of species richness than did rare ones. The biodiversity patterns of river animals emerged from convergence in the distributions of common and rare species (fish), or mostly from the distribution of common species (insects). However, in fish, Ephemeroptera and Plecoptera, the rarer species became almost equally, or more strongly correlated with overall species richness when increasing information along the common-to-rare and rare-to-common sequences. These patterns suggested that rarer species show a similar or stronger affinity, on a species-for-species basis, for high richness areas than do the commoner species. These schemes have implications for biodiversity assessments, as studies using common species richness to target important areas for monitoring or conservation efforts within stream systems will not necessarily identify areas important for rare species, and vice versa.
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Julien Cucherousset, Frédéric Santoul, Jordi Figuerola, Régis Céréghino. How do biodiversity patterns of river animals emerge from the distributions of common and rare species?. Biological Conservation, Elsevier, 2008, vol. 141, pp. 2984-2992. ⟨10.1016/j.biocon.2008.09.004⟩. ⟨hal-00912469⟩

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