Risk assessment of salinity and turbidity in Victoria (Australia) to stream insects' community structure does not always protect functional traits

Ben Kefford, R Schäfer, Leon Metzeling

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    23 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Ecological risk assessments mostly consider measures of community composition (structure) across large spatial scales. These assessments, using species sensitivity distributions (SSDs) or the relative species retention (RSR), may not be protective of ecosystem functions and services at smaller spatial scales. Here we examine how changes in biological traits, as proxy for ecosystem functions/services, at a fine spatial scale relate to larger scale assessment of structure. We use functional traits of stream insect species in south-east Australia in two habitats (riffle and edge/pool). We find that the protection of community structure in terms of 95% of species over multiple sites against adverse effects of salinity (as electrical conductivity) and turbidity will mostly, but not always, protect traits at smaller scales. Considering different combinations of trait modalities, contaminants and habitat, a mean of 17.5% (range 0%–36.8) of cases would result in under-protection of trait modalities despite protecting species composition (in terms of Jaccard's Index). This under-protection of trait modalities is only because of the different spatial scales that community structure and the traitswere considered. We recommend that where the protection of biological traits, ecosystem functions or ecosystem services from tressors is a management goal, protective targets should not be solely set using measures of community structure such as SSDs or RSR. To protect both structural and functional attributes separate risk assessments should be done.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)61-68
    Number of pages8
    JournalScience of the Total Environment
    Volume415
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

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    Turbidity
    Risk assessment
    Ecosystems
    turbidity
    community structure
    risk assessment
    insect
    salinity
    ecosystem function
    ecosystem service
    Chemical analysis
    Impurities
    riffle
    habitat
    electrical conductivity
    community composition
    pollutant

    Cite this

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    abstract = "Ecological risk assessments mostly consider measures of community composition (structure) across large spatial scales. These assessments, using species sensitivity distributions (SSDs) or the relative species retention (RSR), may not be protective of ecosystem functions and services at smaller spatial scales. Here we examine how changes in biological traits, as proxy for ecosystem functions/services, at a fine spatial scale relate to larger scale assessment of structure. We use functional traits of stream insect species in south-east Australia in two habitats (riffle and edge/pool). We find that the protection of community structure in terms of 95{\%} of species over multiple sites against adverse effects of salinity (as electrical conductivity) and turbidity will mostly, but not always, protect traits at smaller scales. Considering different combinations of trait modalities, contaminants and habitat, a mean of 17.5{\%} (range 0{\%}–36.8) of cases would result in under-protection of trait modalities despite protecting species composition (in terms of Jaccard's Index). This under-protection of trait modalities is only because of the different spatial scales that community structure and the traitswere considered. We recommend that where the protection of biological traits, ecosystem functions or ecosystem services from tressors is a management goal, protective targets should not be solely set using measures of community structure such as SSDs or RSR. To protect both structural and functional attributes separate risk assessments should be done.",
    keywords = "Biological traits, Stream macroinvertebrates, Salinization, Suspended sediments, Spatial scale.",
    author = "Ben Kefford and R Sch{\"a}fer and Leon Metzeling",
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    T1 - Risk assessment of salinity and turbidity in Victoria (Australia) to stream insects' community structure does not always protect functional traits

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    AU - Schäfer, R

    AU - Metzeling, Leon

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    N2 - Ecological risk assessments mostly consider measures of community composition (structure) across large spatial scales. These assessments, using species sensitivity distributions (SSDs) or the relative species retention (RSR), may not be protective of ecosystem functions and services at smaller spatial scales. Here we examine how changes in biological traits, as proxy for ecosystem functions/services, at a fine spatial scale relate to larger scale assessment of structure. We use functional traits of stream insect species in south-east Australia in two habitats (riffle and edge/pool). We find that the protection of community structure in terms of 95% of species over multiple sites against adverse effects of salinity (as electrical conductivity) and turbidity will mostly, but not always, protect traits at smaller scales. Considering different combinations of trait modalities, contaminants and habitat, a mean of 17.5% (range 0%–36.8) of cases would result in under-protection of trait modalities despite protecting species composition (in terms of Jaccard's Index). This under-protection of trait modalities is only because of the different spatial scales that community structure and the traitswere considered. We recommend that where the protection of biological traits, ecosystem functions or ecosystem services from tressors is a management goal, protective targets should not be solely set using measures of community structure such as SSDs or RSR. To protect both structural and functional attributes separate risk assessments should be done.

    AB - Ecological risk assessments mostly consider measures of community composition (structure) across large spatial scales. These assessments, using species sensitivity distributions (SSDs) or the relative species retention (RSR), may not be protective of ecosystem functions and services at smaller spatial scales. Here we examine how changes in biological traits, as proxy for ecosystem functions/services, at a fine spatial scale relate to larger scale assessment of structure. We use functional traits of stream insect species in south-east Australia in two habitats (riffle and edge/pool). We find that the protection of community structure in terms of 95% of species over multiple sites against adverse effects of salinity (as electrical conductivity) and turbidity will mostly, but not always, protect traits at smaller scales. Considering different combinations of trait modalities, contaminants and habitat, a mean of 17.5% (range 0%–36.8) of cases would result in under-protection of trait modalities despite protecting species composition (in terms of Jaccard's Index). This under-protection of trait modalities is only because of the different spatial scales that community structure and the traitswere considered. We recommend that where the protection of biological traits, ecosystem functions or ecosystem services from tressors is a management goal, protective targets should not be solely set using measures of community structure such as SSDs or RSR. To protect both structural and functional attributes separate risk assessments should be done.

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    KW - Salinization

    KW - Suspended sediments

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