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Type: Article
Published: 2023-07-31
Page range: 125-136
Abstract views: 219
PDF downloaded: 3

Riparian forests as dispersal corridors for adult European mayflies, stoneflies and caddisflies (EPTs)

Centro de Estudos Florestais; Instituto Superior de Agronomia; Universidade de Lisboa; Portugal
Department of Aquatic Ecology; Faculty of Biology; Duisburg-Essen University; Germany
Institute of Hydrobiology and Aquatic Ecosystem Management; University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences; Vienna; Austria; TIWAG-Tiroler Wasserkraft AG; Innsbruck; Austria
metacommunity freshwater macroinvertebrates riparian vegetation aerial dispersal


Metacommunity theory connects the diversity patterns of the community across the landscape with the effects of ecological processes. As dispersal is one of the main factors driving the metacommunity structure, it is important to understand the interaction between landscape and dispersal to apply metacommunity theory. Herein, we summarize the main challenges of applying metacommunity theory to the mayfly, stonefly and caddisfly community (Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera and Trichoptera, or EPTs). Then, we attempt to solve some of the open questions regarding EPT dispersal and its relation with riparian forests. First, we investigate the diversity of functional dispersal traits of the European EPT species, analysing the existing empirical data and selecting a suitable functional index. Second, we assess the effect of riparian forest in landscape connectivity for EPTs, concluding that deciduous riparian forest can enhance dispersal. Third, we extend the study to four European regions, concluding that the role of native riparian forest as dispersal corridor differs between regions. We achieved three goals: First, we produced a theoretical and methodological framework to include dispersal in the study of EPT metacommunity, highlighting the role of riparian forest as a dispersal corridor. Second, we identify several aspects that require further investigation such as empirical dispersal studies or interactions between ecological stressors and dispersal. Third, we provide a new perspective for riverine and riparian ecosystems management, highlighting the need to consider riparian buffers as an integral part of the riverine ecosystems.


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