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Arctic chironomids of the northwest North Atlantic reflect environmental and biogeographic gradients

Arctic chironomids of the northwest North Atlantic reflect environmental and biogeographic gradients
Arctic chironomids of the northwest North Atlantic reflect environmental and biogeographic gradients
Aim: while we understand broad climate drivers of insect distributions throughout the Arctic, less is known about the role of spatial processes in determining these relationships. As such, there is a need to understand how spatial controls may influence our interpretations of chironomid environment relationships. Here, we evaluated whether the distribution of chironomids followed spatial gradients, or were primarily controlled by environmental factors.

Location: Eastern Canadian Arctic, Greenland, Iceland.

Taxon: non-biting midges (Chironomidae)

Methods: we examined chironomid assemblages from 239 lakes in the western North Atlantic Arctic region (specifically from the Arctic Archipelago of Canada, two parts of west Greenland (the southwest and central west), and northwest Iceland). We used a combination of unconstrained ordination (Self Organizing Maps); a simple method with only one data matrix (community data), and constrained ordination (Redundancy Analysis); a canonical ordination with two data sets where we extracted structure of community related to environmental data. These methods allowed us to model chironomid assemblages across a large bioregional dimension and identify specific differences between regions that were defined by common taxa represented across all regions in high frequencies, as well as rare taxa distinctive to each region found in low frequencies. We then evaluated the relative importance of spatial processes versus local environmental factors.

Results: we find that environmental controls explained the largest amount of variation in chironomid assemblages within each region, and that spatial controls are only significant when crossing between regions. Broad-scale biogeographic effects on chironomid distributions are reflected by the distinct differences between chironomid assemblages of Iceland, central-west Greenland, and eastern Canada, defined by the presence of certain common and low-frequency, rare taxa for each region. Environmental gradients, especially temperature, defined species distributions within each region, whereas spatial processes combine with environmental gradients in determining what mix of species characterizes each broad and geographically distinct island region in our study.

Main conclusions: we outline that while biogeographic context is important for defining interpretations of environmental controls on species distributions, the primary control on distributions within regions is environmental. These influences are fundamentally important to know for reconstructing past environmental change and better understanding historical distributions of these insect indicators.
0305-0270
Medeiros, Andrew
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Milošević, Djuradj
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Francis, Donna
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Maddison, Eleanor
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Woodroffe, Sarah
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Long, Antony
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Walker, Ian
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Hamerlík, Ladislav
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Quinlan, Roberto
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Langdon, Peter
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Brodersen, Klaus
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Axford, Yarrow
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Medeiros, Andrew
d0b56390-37f2-48fc-b823-be3a8e2554a0
Milošević, Djuradj
afa84d6c-aaee-47a3-ab7d-2cbe81b9dce1
Francis, Donna
a8458d41-182e-42e4-9cd1-c386244115ac
Maddison, Eleanor
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Woodroffe, Sarah
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Long, Antony
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Walker, Ian
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Hamerlík, Ladislav
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Quinlan, Roberto
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Langdon, Peter
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Brodersen, Klaus
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Axford, Yarrow
08a03d71-ef80-40bd-b8e6-5784772ac67c

Medeiros, Andrew, Milošević, Djuradj, Francis, Donna, Maddison, Eleanor, Woodroffe, Sarah, Long, Antony, Walker, Ian, Hamerlík, Ladislav, Quinlan, Roberto, Langdon, Peter, Brodersen, Klaus and Axford, Yarrow (2020) Arctic chironomids of the northwest North Atlantic reflect environmental and biogeographic gradients. Journal of Biogeography. (In Press)

Record type: Article

Abstract

Aim: while we understand broad climate drivers of insect distributions throughout the Arctic, less is known about the role of spatial processes in determining these relationships. As such, there is a need to understand how spatial controls may influence our interpretations of chironomid environment relationships. Here, we evaluated whether the distribution of chironomids followed spatial gradients, or were primarily controlled by environmental factors.

Location: Eastern Canadian Arctic, Greenland, Iceland.

Taxon: non-biting midges (Chironomidae)

Methods: we examined chironomid assemblages from 239 lakes in the western North Atlantic Arctic region (specifically from the Arctic Archipelago of Canada, two parts of west Greenland (the southwest and central west), and northwest Iceland). We used a combination of unconstrained ordination (Self Organizing Maps); a simple method with only one data matrix (community data), and constrained ordination (Redundancy Analysis); a canonical ordination with two data sets where we extracted structure of community related to environmental data. These methods allowed us to model chironomid assemblages across a large bioregional dimension and identify specific differences between regions that were defined by common taxa represented across all regions in high frequencies, as well as rare taxa distinctive to each region found in low frequencies. We then evaluated the relative importance of spatial processes versus local environmental factors.

Results: we find that environmental controls explained the largest amount of variation in chironomid assemblages within each region, and that spatial controls are only significant when crossing between regions. Broad-scale biogeographic effects on chironomid distributions are reflected by the distinct differences between chironomid assemblages of Iceland, central-west Greenland, and eastern Canada, defined by the presence of certain common and low-frequency, rare taxa for each region. Environmental gradients, especially temperature, defined species distributions within each region, whereas spatial processes combine with environmental gradients in determining what mix of species characterizes each broad and geographically distinct island region in our study.

Main conclusions: we outline that while biogeographic context is important for defining interpretations of environmental controls on species distributions, the primary control on distributions within regions is environmental. These influences are fundamentally important to know for reconstructing past environmental change and better understanding historical distributions of these insect indicators.

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Medeirosa_etal_2020_09_23_accepted - Accepted Manuscript
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Accepted/In Press date: 8 October 2020

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 444893
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/444893
ISSN: 0305-0270
PURE UUID: dc7220bb-9220-4172-aed5-b132549b1ba1
ORCID for Peter Langdon: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2724-2643

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Date deposited: 10 Nov 2020 17:31
Last modified: 08 Oct 2021 04:01

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Contributors

Author: Andrew Medeiros
Author: Djuradj Milošević
Author: Donna Francis
Author: Eleanor Maddison
Author: Sarah Woodroffe
Author: Antony Long
Author: Ian Walker
Author: Ladislav Hamerlík
Author: Roberto Quinlan
Author: Peter Langdon ORCID iD
Author: Klaus Brodersen
Author: Yarrow Axford

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