Organisation of biodiversity in river networks

Different forms of connectivity in river networks (from Tonkin et al., 2018; FWB).

Riverine ecosystems are among the most species-rich ecosystems on earth. Rivers are spatially organised into hierarchical dendritic networks. This unique physical structure and the associated directionality of physical flows sets them apart from most other environments by regulating the dispersal of resident biota and therefore the distribution of biodiversity. River networks comprise collections of connected populations (metapopulations), communities (metacommunities), and ecoystems (metaecosystems). We study how biodiversity is organised in river networks and how their unique physical structuring affects metapopulation and metacommmunity dynamics, using a wide range of approaches, including mechanistic modelling and field studies.

Jonathan Tonkin
Senior Lecturer & Rutherford Discovery Fellow


Metacommunities in river networks: The importance of network structure and connectivity on patterns and processes

Rivers are spatially organised into hierarchic dendritic networks. This unique physical structure and the associated directionality of …

The role of dispersal in river network metacommunities: Patterns, processes, and pathways

River networks are hierarchical dendritic habitats embedded within the terrestrial landscape, with varying connectivity between sites …

Metacommunity structuring in himalayan streams over large elevational gradients: The role of dispersal routes and niche characteristics

Aim: To examine metacommunity structuring in stream communities over large elevational gradients by disentangling physical and …

Context dependency in biodiversity patterns of central German stream metacommunities

Context dependency is an emerging topic that is challenging our understanding of the factors shaping biodiversity in metacommunities. …