TOPOGRAPHY AND SEASONALITY PROMOTES TAXONOMIC BETA DIVERSITY OF SEEDLINGS IN A TROPICAL WETLAND
Keywords:flood disturbance, nestedness-resultant component, taxonomic turnover, topographical gradient
Spatial and temporal beta diversity of seedlings in tropical wetland remain poorly understood. We assessed the ecological pattern of taxonomic beta diversity of seedling assemblages along a topographic gradient, seasonally flooded disturbance, and sampling years in a tropical wetland. We tested that seasonally flooded disturbance on seedling assemblage promotes a high taxonomic beta diversity due to a high taxonomic turnover along the topographical gradient. Here we examined a large database from 200 plots (each having 0.5 × 0.5 m), across eight seasonally flooded grasslands in the Pantanal of central-west Brazil. We selected data on ponds for four years at two characteristic hydrological phases per year: post-flood (July and
August), and post-dry season (October and November). We classified the topographical gradient into three levels 1) low—longer duration of flood; 2) mid—intermediate level; and 3) high—short duration of flood (dry soil). For both post-flood and post-dry seasons, we counted the number of seedlings within five plots at each topographic level. Additionally, taxonomic beta diversity was examined via novel abundance-based metrics (including both turnover and nestedness patterns). Overall, taxonomic beta diversity was consistently higher in high topographic level and post-dry season plots. We observed differences in beta diversity components between topographical levels, seasons and years. Topographical gradient and seasonally flooded promotes more variation in taxonomic turnover and beta diversity; due to these environmental filters we presume that the resulting beta diversity can be decisive in the species diversity in this tropical wetland.
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