The relative influences of fine and landscape scale factors on the structure of lentic plant assemblages

Mark June-Wells, Frank Gallagher, Brian Hart, Vidur Malik, Gregory Bugbee

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June-Wells M, Gallagher F, Hart B, Malik V, Bugbee G. 2016. The relative influences of fine and landscape scale factors on the structure of lentic plant assemblages. Lake Reserv Manage. 32:116-131.The process of plant community assembly has long been a topic of debate among ecologists. Aquatic plant assemblages and their structure may be the result of a series of abiotic and biotic filters that include transport (i.e., physical movement of species), water chemistry, sediment chemistry, basin structure, and competitive interactions. The influences of transport and water chemistry have been well investigated, but many questions persist about the interrelationships among water and sediment variables, including their combined influences on the structure of the aquatic plant assemblage. To understand how these abiotic conditions interact, we sampled 750 points in 30 lakes. Using these data, a split canonical correspondence design was used to evaluate the relative influences of regional and fine-scale conditions in structuring the plant assemblage. Additionally, multiple logistic regressions were employed to determine the individual species abiotic preferences. The results suggest that the plant assemblage structure is principally determined by the lake-sediment characteristics. Sediment variables explained 28% of the total species-data variance and water chemistry accounted for 9% (total variance explained = 46%; 9% due to intercorrelation of water/sediment characteristics). There were also strong species-environmental relationships; nonnative species showed distinct correlations with sediment pH and lake water conductivity, which may be useful in lake management initiatives such as risk assessment and nonnative species monitoring. Finally, and as expected, the Shannon diversity index was strongly related to depth and light.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-131
Number of pages16
JournalLake and Reservoir Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology


  • Cabomba caroliniana community structure
  • Myriophyllum heterophyllum
  • Myriophyllum spicatum
  • Potamogeton crispus
  • abiotic conditions
  • aquatic macrophytes
  • variance partitioning


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