The traditional and widely used ecomorphological spring classification—pool springs (limnocrenes), seepages (helocrenes), and flowing springs (rheocrenes)—is based mainly on the flow regime at the spring mouth. This clear distinction is based purely on environmental conditions, but how and to what extent these spring typologies are reflected by biological assemblages consisting of different taxonomic groups remains largely untested. Classification of habitats typically is based on one or few taxonomic groups. However, groups are likely to differ in their response to the environment, so different, equally valid classifications might result with different groups. We evaluated the responses and their congruence of a wide range of taxonomic groups to different spring types. Eighty-six springs in the Italian Alps were first classified based on environmental factors only. The consistency of this classification was tested using diatoms, bryophytes, vascular plants, nematodes, mollusks, oligochaetes, water mites, copepods, ostracods, chironomids, stoneflies, and caddisflies. When only environmental variables were used, 7 spring types were distinguished: limnocrenes and helocrenes, low- and high-altitude rheocrenes on carbonate rocks, rheocrenes on siliceous rocks, rheocrenes with high discharge, and hygropetric rheocrenes. This classification was reflected by most taxonomic groups, and many species were characteristic for ≥1 spring type. However, the predictive power of the environment for determining species distribution was generally low, a result suggesting that other factors may play an important role in structuring spring assemblages. Concordance among taxonomic groups was found for 2 macrogroups of organisms: autotrophs (diatoms, bryophytes, and vascular plants) and heterotrophs. This result shows that achieving a general classification of springs relevant across all taxonomic groups would be difficult.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.