Zooplankton assemblages of 51 lacustrineenvironments located in the middle of the Mediterranean Region were analysed to evaluate the existence of an ‘age effect’ in determining their structure.The analysed datasets refer to two different geographic areas, one comprising 30 natural and artificial lakes in Sicily and the other an arrangement of 21 analogous aquatic ecosystems located at the bottom of the Italian Peninsula, a more pristine area called Southern Apennine region. Most of the natural lakes are of post-glacial origin. The artificial lakes in both datasets were built in the last century and offer theopportunity to evaluate the possible short-term effects of ageing on the structure of their zooplankton. Acomparison of assemblages in the two regions by PERMANOVA and nMDS revealed that they arequite different; therefore they were analysed separately.An explorative analysis on the possiblerelationship between biological data and environmental data (including lake age) was performed on both datasets using DISTLM. The presence of an ‘age effect’ emerged only in the subset of artificial lakes of the Southern Apennine region; accordingly it wastested more in detail with an a posteriori PERMANOVA analysis in the subset of reservoirs that resulted positive in the first test. SIMPER allowed us to single out the main species responsible of changes in the zooplankton along the selected age groups. No age effect was evident in the Sicilian water bodies, where other variables, such as conductivity, trophic state, urbanisation and water level fluctuations proved to have a major role in shaping zooplankton assemblages. The results showed that the age effect is: (i) detectable only at a time scale of decades; (ii) masked by the human impact in thewatershed.
|Numero di pagine||15|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2010|
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