How do early successional patterns in man-made wetlands differ between cold temperate and Mediterranean regions?

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The early stages of succession in newly created wetlands should be impacted by the region in which the wetland is located, since climate may have filtered the dominant biological strategies of the taxa leading this process and may condition their dynamics. We studied the early successional patterns of macroinvertebrates within man made ponds, located in cold temperate (Scandinavian Peninsula) and Mediterranean regions (Iberian Peninsula), during the first three years following their creation. We predicted (1) non random subsets of the regional species pool (deterministic assembly) guiding the successional process in cold temperate wetlands, and random (stochastic) assembly in the Mediterranean region; (2) higher successional rates in Mediterranean ponds than in the cold temperate ponds, with contrary episodes of highest and lowest change throughout the year; and (3) a significant difference in the composition of biological traits between regions, due to the dominance of traits adapted to hydrological variability in the Mediterranean region. Hypotheses on community structure (1) and the composition of dominant biological traits (3) were mostly supported - deterministic assembly mechanisms in the cold temperate ponds and stochastic assembly in the Mediterranean ponds; and a dominance of different biological traits between regions, explained by the need to overcome hydrological disturbances in the Mediterranean ponds. The dynamics of succession (2) were explained by climatic factors in the cold temperate region but not in the Mediterranean ponds. We suggest that the intrinsic hydrological variability of Mediterranean lentic systems may be a major factor driving community changes in man-made wetlands in this region. In order to generalize the observed patterns, we performed a meta-analysis of the temporal trends of taxonomic distinctness parameters of other successional studies across a latitudinal gradient in Europe, which supported the differences we had observed between latitudinal extremes ​
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