The importance of periodic droughts for maintaining diversity in the freshwater environment

Everard, Mark (1996) The importance of periodic droughts for maintaining diversity in the freshwater environment. Freshwater Forum, 7, pp. 33-50.

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Abstract

Whereas some species may rely on periodic drought conditions for part of their life histories, or have life strategies suited to exploiting the habitat or changed environmental conditions that are created by drought, for other organisms it is a time of stress. Periodic drought conditions therefore generate a series of waves of colonization and extinctions. Studies on lowland wet grassland, in winterbournes and in the toiche zone of both ponds and rivers, also demonstrate that different organisms are competitively favoured with changing hydrological conditions, and that this process prevents any one species from overwhelming its competitors. Competitive impacts may be inter- and intraspecific. It is therefore apparent that the death of organisms such as adult fish during severe drought conditions, though traumatic for human onlookers and commercial interests, may be merely a regular occurrence to which the ecosystem is adapted. The variability of climatic conditions thereby provides a direct influence on the maintenance of biological diversity, and it is this very biodiversity that provides the ecosystem with the resilience to respond to environmental changes in both the short and the longer term.

Item Type: Article
Title: The importance of periodic droughts for maintaining diversity in the freshwater environment
Personal Creator/Author:
CreatorsEmail
Everard, Mark
Refereed: No
Journal or Publication Title: Freshwater Forum
Volume: 7
Page Range: pp. 33-50
Date: 1996
ISSN: 0961-4664
Issuing Agency: Freshwater Biological Association
Uncontrolled Keywords: Droughts; Ecosystem resilience; British Isles; Biodiversity
Subjects: Ecology
Environment
Item ID: 4575
Depositing User: Hardy B Schwamm
Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2010 12:27
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2011 16:13
URI: http://aquaticcommons.org/id/eprint/4575

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