Estimating aquatic invertebrate diversity in the southern Alps using data from Biodiversity Days

https://doi.org/10.4081/jlimnol.2021.1999

Authors

  • Georg H. Niedrist | georg.niedrist@uibk.ac.at Department of Ecology, River and Conservation Research, University of Innsbruck, Austria. https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2852-4661
  • Birgit Lösch Biological Laboratory, Agency for Environment and Climate Protection of the Autonomous Province Bolzano South Tyrol, Laives, Italy. https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2530-2991
  • Magdalena Nagler Institute of Microbiology, University of Innsbruck, Italy. https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4165-7290
  • Hannes Rauch Biological Laboratory, Agency for Environment and Climate Protection of the Autonomous Province Bolzano South Tyrol, Laives, Italy.
  • Samuel Vorhauser Biological Laboratory, Agency for Environment and Climate Protection of the Autonomous Province Bolzano South Tyrol, Laives, Italy. https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7098-4357
  • Alberto Scotti Eurac Research, Institute for Alpine Environment, Bolzano, Italy. https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5861-7551
  • Roberta Bottarin Eurac Research, Institute for Alpine Environment, Bolzano, Italy.
  • Renate Alber Biological Laboratory, Agency for Environment and Climate Protection of the Autonomous Province Bolzano South Tyrol, Laives, Italy. https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2567-651X

Abstract

High biodiversity is a prerequisite for the integrity, stability, and functioning of global aquatic ecosystems, but it is currently subject to anthropogenic threats. Small freshwater bodies with high habitat diversity are essential to sustain regional biodiversity, but species inventory and biodiversity are largely overlooked, especially in mountainous regions. In the Italian Alps, obligate assessments of freshwater biota (e.g., for the European water framework directive, WFD) are usually done in larger rivers or lakes only, which is why many taxa from small freshwater habitats might have been overlooked so far. Here we summarize and discuss the efforts to record aquatic invertebrates within the framework of so-called "Biodiversity Days", organized since 2001 at 13 different sites located across the North Italian province of South Tyrol. These events with voluntary participation of scientists and naturalists from universities and environmental agencies led to the detection of 334 benthic invertebrate taxa in streams and lakes (mostly species or genus level), whereby higher taxa richness was found in streams. The overall hierarchy of species numbers within invertebrate orders or families corresponded to that of other Alpine regions (groups richest in taxa were Chironomidae and Trichoptera) and these Biodiversity Days contributed to biodiversity research of that region in detecting 167 additional taxa. Besides analyzing yearly gains in the regional taxa inventory, we predict that future surveys will lead to new discoveries of aquatic taxa for that province (i.e., current modeling estimates a regional inventory of more than 600 taxa). However, specific surveys in hitherto unconsidered habitats, such as morphologically modified or urban waters, might reveal even more taxa than currently estimated. Besides characterizing the invertebrate fauna of this region and providing a first reference list for future monitoring projects in the same region, this work demonstrates that such Biodiversity Days can contribute to biodiversity research.

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Credit: Tom Corser www.tomcorser.com
Published
2021-06-21
Info
Issue
Section
Original Articles
Edited by
John P. Smol, Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Lab, Queen's University, Kingston, Canada
Supporting Agencies
Naturmuseum Südtirol, Eurac Research, University of Innsbruck
Keywords:
Freshwater, monitoring, benthos, Alpine, streams, South Tyrol
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How to Cite
1.
Niedrist G, Lösch B, Nagler M, Rauch H, Vorhauser S, Scotti A, Bottarin R, Alber R. Estimating aquatic invertebrate diversity in the southern Alps using data from Biodiversity Days. J Limnol [Internet]. 2021 Jun. 21 [cited 2021 Sep. 24];80(2). Available from: https://jlimnol.it/index.php/jlimnol/article/view/1999