Perils of life on the edge: Climatic threats to global diversity patterns of wetland macroinvertebrates

Luis B. Epele*, Marta G. Grech, Emilio A. Williams-Subiza, Cristina Stenert, Kyle McLean, Hamish S. Greig, Leonardo Maltchik, Mateus Marques Pires, Matthew S. Bird, Aurelie Boissezon, Dani Boix, Eliane Demierre, Patricia E. García, Stephanie Gascón, Michael Jeffries, Jamie M. Kneitel, Olga Loskutova, Luz M. Manzo, Gabriela Mataloni, Musa C. MlamboBeat Oertli, Jordi Sala, Erica E. Scheibler, Haitao Wu, Scott A. Wissinger, Darold P. Batzer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)
17 Downloads (Pure)


Climate change is rapidly driving global biodiversity declines. How wetland macroinvertebrate assemblages are responding is unclear, a concern given their vital function in these ecosystems. Using a data set from 769 minimally impacted depressional wetlands across the globe (467 temporary and 302 permanent), we evaluated how temperature and precipitation (average, range, variability) affects the richness and beta diversity of 144 macroinvertebrate families. To test the effects of climatic predictors on macroinvertebrate diversity, we fitted generalized additive mixed-effects models (GAMM) for family richness and generalized dissimilarity models (GDMs) for total beta diversity. We found non-linear relationships between family richness, beta diversity, and climate. Maximum temperature was the main climatic driver of wetland macroinvertebrate richness and beta diversity, but precipitation seasonality was also important. Assemblage responses to climatic variables also depended on wetland water permanency. Permanent wetlands from warmer regions had higher family richness than temporary wetlands. Interestingly, wetlands in cooler and dry-warm regions had the lowest taxonomic richness, but both kinds of wetlands supported unique assemblages. Our study suggests that climate change will have multiple effects on wetlands and their macroinvertebrate diversity, mostly via increases in maximum temperature, but also through changes in patterns of precipitation. The most vulnerable wetlands to climate change are likely those located in warm-dry regions, where entire macroinvertebrate assemblages would be extirpated. Montane and high-latitude wetlands (i.e., cooler regions) are also vulnerable to climate change, but we do not expect entire extirpations at the family level.

Original languageEnglish
Article number153052
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date25 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2022


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