Climate and land-use driven reorganisation of structure and function in river macroinvertebrate communities


Understanding temporal changes in the composition of species communities over spatial and temporal scales relevant to conservation management is crucial for preventing further biodiversity declines. Here, we assessed patterns and potential drivers of taxonomic and functional temporal β diversity over 26 years (1991–2016) of 64 river macroinvertebrate communities, and the length of New Zealand (37°00’N, 46°00’S). We further examined changes in population size and range shifts of species pools, and related these to taxonomy and functional traits. We found increasing climate and land-use driven differences in both the taxonomic and functional composition of communities over time, coupled with poleward species colonisations and increasing extirpations in northern locations. Increases in population and species range size were more prevalent than decreases in population and range size. Species shifted their ranges towards higher latitudes on average by 50 km per decade. Despite little to no relationship with taxonomy, we uncovered distinct relationships between functional traits and population trends and latitudinal species range shifts. Species with a high number of reproductive cycles per year and long-life duration of adults tended to increase their population size, while larger size species with a high number of descendants per reproductive cycle tended to shift their range towards more southern latitudes. Our results suggest that the intensity of disturbances, the geographic location of individuals and communities, and species ecological and functional characteristics, are major determinants of riverine biodiversity reorganisation in the Anthropocene.