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A null model to study community structure of microcrustacean assemblages in northern Chilean shallow lakes

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The inland water bodies of northern Chile (18-27°S) are characterized by high salinity levels and impoverished species richness. This study presents field observations of species associations sampled from shallow water bodies in the Antofagasta region of northern Chile (23°S). A species presenceabsence matrix was created for calculating the Jaccard Index of community similarity and for testing null models of species associations, with the aim of determining whether species associations, are random or not. The results of the Jaccard Index calculations indicated the existence of defined groups, including three sites with Artemia franciscana, two sites with Boeckella poopoensis, and a sixth site only containing the ostracod Sarscypridopsis aculeata. The results of the null model analysis denoted the presence of regulating factors only in fixed-fixed simulation, that is the most robust in comparison to the other two simulations that denoted absence of regulator factors in species associations. The Jaccard indices and significant null model analysis agree with previous ecological descriptions of salinity as a determinant of species associations, whereas the non-significant results of the other two simulations could be due to the low number of species reported. The ecology and biogeography of these communities are also discussed. Los cuerpos de agua continentales del norte de Chile (18-27°S) se caracterizan por su alta salinidad y baja riqueza de especies. Este estudio presenta observaciones en terreno de asociaciones de especies muestreadas en lagunas poco profundas en la región de Antofagasta, en el norte de Chile (23°S). Se aplicó una matriz de presencia y ausencia de especies para calcular un índice de Jaccard de similitud de comunidades y probar un modelo nulo de asociaciones de especies con el objetivo de determinar si las asociaciones de especies son aleatorias. Los resultados de los cálculos del índice de Jaccard indican la existencia de grupos definidos, incluyendo tres sitios con Artemia franciscana, dos sitios con Boeckella poopoensis y un último sitio con el ostrácodo Sarscypridopsis aculeata. Los resultados del análisis por modelo nulo denotan la presencia de factores reguladores solo en la simulación fijo-fijo, que es la más robusta respecto a las dos restantes, las cuales indican que las asociaciones de especies son aleatorias. Los resultados del índice de Jaccard y la simulación del modelo nulo con resultados significativos está de acuerdo con otras descripciones ecológicas previas donde la salinidad es el determinante principal de las asociaciones de especies, mientras que las dos similaciones del modelo nulo no significativas podrían deberse al bajo número de especies observadas. Se discutió la ecología y biogeografía de las comunidades.

Affiliations: 1: Universidad Católica de Temuco, Facultad de Recursos Naturales, Escuela de Ciencias Ambientales, Casilla 15-D, Temuco, Chile


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