Hydrology Affects Environmental and Spatial Structuring of Microalgal Metacommunities in Tropical Pacific Coast Wetlands Artículo académico uri icon


  • The alternating climate between wet and dry periods has important effects on the hydrology and therefore on niche-based processes of water bodies in tropical areas. Additionally, assemblages of microorganism can show spatial patterns, in the form of a distance decay relationship due to their size or life form. We aimed to test spatial and environmental effects, modulated by a seasonal flooding climatic pattern, on the distribution of microalgae in 30 wetlands of a tropical dry forest region: the Pacific coast of Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Three surveys were conducted corresponding to the beginning, the highest peak, and the end of the hydrological year during the wet season, and species abundance and composition of planktonic and benthic microalgae was determined. Variation partitioning analysis (as explained by spatial distance or environmental factors) was applied to each seasonal dataset by means of partial redundancy analysis. Our results show that microalgal assemblages were structured by spatial and environmental factors depending on the hydrological period of the year. At the onset of hydroperiod and during flooding, neutral effects dominated community dynamics, but niche-based local effects resulted in more structured algal communities at the final periods of desiccating water bodies. Results suggest that climate-mediated effects on hydrology can influence the relative role of spatial and environmental factors on metacommunities of microalgae. Such variability needs to be accounted in order to describe accurately community dynamics in tropical coastal wetlands.

fecha de publicación

  • 2016