Beta Diversity Partitioning and Drivers of Variations in Fish Assemblages in a Headwater Stream: Lijiang River, China
Beta diversity partitioning has currently received much attention in research of ﬁsh assemblages. However, the main drivers, especially the contribution of spatial and hydrological variables for species composition and beta diversity of ﬁsh assemblages are less well studied. To link species composition to multiple abiotic variables (i.e., local environmental variables, hydrological variables, and spatial variables), the relative roles of abiotic variables in shaping ﬁsh species composition and beta diversity (i.e., overall turnover, replacement, and nestedness) were investigated in the upstream Lijiang River. Species composition showed signiﬁcant correlations with environmental, hydrological, and spatial variables, and variation partitioning revealed that the local environmental and spatial variables outperformed hydrological variables, and especially abiotic variables explained a substantial part of the variation in the ﬁsh composition (43.2%). The overall species turnover was driven mostly by replacement (87.9% and 93.7% for Sørensen and Jaccard indices, respectively) rather than nestedness. Mantel tests indicated that the overall species turnover (ßSOR and ßJAC) and replacement (ßSIM and ßJTU) were signiﬁcantly related to hydrological, environmental, and spatial heterogeneity, whereas nestedness (ßSNE or ßJNE) was insigniﬁcantly correlated with abiotic variables (P > 0.05). Moreover, the pure effect of spatial variables on overall species turnover (ßSOR and ßJAC) and replacement (ßSIM and ßJTU), and the pure effect of hydrological variables on replacement (ßSIM and ßJTU), were not important (P > 0.05). Our ﬁndings demonstrated the relative importance of interactions among environmental, hydrological, and spatial variables in structuring ﬁsh assemblages in headwater streams; these ﬁsh assemblages tend to be compositionally distinct, rather than nested derivatives of one another. Our results, therefore, indicate that maintaining natural ﬂow dynamics and habitat continuity are of vital importance for conservation of ﬁsh assemblages and diversity in headwater streams.