Effects of anthropogenic disturbances on α and β diversity of fish assemblages and their longitudinal patterns in subtropical streams, China
Identifying the spatial patterns of α and β diversity of biotics is an important yet little-understood area of basic and applied ecological research. Although the upstream–downstream patterns of α diversity of stream fishes are numerously reported, β diversity has received less attention. In this study, we surveyed fishes along the upstream–downstream gradients in three headwater streams of the Qingyi River, China, which were affected by different extents of human activities. We aimed to assess how anthropogenic disturbances affect α and β diversity of stream fishes and their upstream–downstream patterns. We found that, compared with that in the Shuxi Stream disturbed less, endemic species decreased and cosmopolitan species increased in the Maxi and Puxi Stream disturbed heavily. The streams disturbed heavily showed lower α diversity and higher β diversity than that in the stream disturbed less. This among-stream variations in fish diversity only occurred at the mid-downstream, not upstream segments. α diversity increased downstream and β diversity decreased downstream from headwaters to mouth in the stream disturbed less, whereas this upstream–downstream pattern in fish diversity shifted in the streams disturbed heavily, in which both α and β diversity showed the quadratic distributions with the hump-shape for α diversity and the U-shape for β diversity respectively. Our results suggest that anthropogenic disturbances cause some cosmopolitan fishes replacing many endemic fishes in upland streams. This replacement processes result in α diversity decreasing and β diversity increasing, and shift the spatial patterns in fish diversity along the upstream–downstream gradient.
Ecology of Freshwater Fish
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Fisheries Sciences not elsewhere classified